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BY ER SCIDMORE 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
AT LOS ANGELES 




/ ■" 



C- 



■v 



UMiVEUiSlTY of r.f. 
aT 
LCC ANGELES 



Winter India 




THE SACRED BO-TEEE AND THE DIAMOIvD THRONE, EUDDHA-GAYA. 

THE CKNTER OF THE IINJVERHE ANl) THE VERANDA OK KNOWLEDGE. 



Winter India 



By 

Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore 

Author of "Jinrikisha Days in Japan," "Java: The Garden of the East,' 
and "China: The Long-Lived Empire" 






New York 
The Century Co. 

1903 



"■- <^-»' ^ >4»' 



Copyright, 1903, by 
The Century Co. 



Published March, IQ03 



THE OE VINNE PRE89 






^\ V 



/ 



TO 

CAROLINE TOUSEY BURK.AM 

THE FRIEND OF 

AN INDIAN WINTER 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I On India's Coral Strand 3 

II Trichinopoli and Tanjore 21 

III With Chidambram's Brahmans 34 

IV For the Honor and Glory of Shiva .... 51 
V Madras and the Seven Pagodas 64 

VI Madras and Calcutta 80 

VII Calcutta in Christmas Week 89 

VIII The Greatest Thing in the World .... 105 

IX Mahabodhi, the Place of Great Intelligence 116 

X The Sacred Bo-tree 133 

XI The Greatest Sight in the World .... 149 

XII Benares 165 

XIII LucKNOW 177 

XIV Agra 185 

XV Akbar, the Greatest Mogul of Them All . 202 

XVI Delhi 213 

XVII Old Delhi 227 

XVIII Lahore 239 

XIX The End of the Indian Empire 256 

XX Through Ehtber Pass with the Caravans . 276 

XXI Amritsar 298 



viii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XXII Simla 312 

XXIII Alwar 323 

XXIV GrWALIOR 335 

XXV Jeypore 344 

XXVI Mount Abu and Ahmedabad 357 

XXVII The Caves op Ellora and Karli 369 

XXVIII Bombay 383 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

The Sacred Bo-tree and the Diamond Throne, 
Buddha-Gaya Frontispiece. 

PAGE 

Tamil Children 5 

The Great Gopura, Madura Temple 13 

Detail op Gopura, Madura Temple 19 

Indian Lotas 27 

Gopura and Tank, Chidambram Temple 43 

Pattu Thacheadar 57 

Monolithic Temples at Mahabalipur 67 

The Village Street 77 

The Ruins and Pagodas of Pagan 91 

From photograph by Bourne & Shepard. 

The Fort at Mandalay 91 

Vases from the Sakya Stupa at Piprawah .... 121 

The Sarcophagus in the Cave . . . .■ 121 

The Ekka 124 

The Great Temple at Buddha-Gaya and the Sacred 

Bo-tree 127 

Asoka's Rail, Buddha-Gaya 143 

The "Women's Ghat, Benares 151 

The Burning-Ghat, Benares 159 

Fakirs at Benares 169 

On the Ganges , 173 



X LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

The Taj Mahal . 187 

Private Audience-Hall and Jasmine Tower in Agra 

Palace. Taj Mahal in Distance 197 

RLausoleum op Selim Chisti, Fatehpur Sikri . . . 207' 

Kutab minar 219 

Detail op Kutab minar 231 

Street Dancers, Delhi 237 

The Roofs and Balconies of Lahore 245 

School-boys in the Vazir Khan Mosque, Lahore . . 251 

Afghan Falconer, Peshawar 251 

The Mad Molla, Peshawar 269 

Caravans in the Khyber Pass 287 

The Golden Temple, Amritsar 301 

Window at Gwalior 307 

The Hall of Audience, Jeypore 315 

The Old City op Amber, from the Top of the De- 
serted Palace 325 

The Deserted Palace, from the Lake, Amber . . . 331 

The Hall of Mirrors 337 

Interior op Jain Temple, Mount Abu 349 

Ceiling of Jain Temple, Mount Abu 359 

Tracery Window, Ahmedabad 365 

Rock-cut Temple at Ellora 371 

The Great Cave-temple, Karli 379 

"Please Buy My NiEa^ASs" 387 




INTRODUCTION 

>T can hardly be said with literalness 
I that one enjoys India. I had not ex- 
pected to enjoy it, and it proved itself, 
despite its color and pictiiresqueness, 
quite as melancholy and depressing 
a country as I had thought it would be; but so ab- 
sorbingly interesting, so packed with problems, so 
replete with miracles accomplished by alien rule, so 
ripe with possibilities, that one soon overlooked the 
unnecessary hardships and discomforts of travel — 
travel as plain and primitive as in the Klondike, or 
as if the country had been conquered only within 
this decade. 

The surprises, the contrasts, and the contradic- 
tions administer perpetual shock and mental stimu- 
lus, and the unexpected continually confronts one. 
Never have I suffered with cold as in India. Not a 
snake did I see or hear of in the cold-weather, tourist 
season, save in zoological gardens or snake-charmers' 
baskets, and the tigers were likewise caged. 

There are so many Indias that no one person can 
know them all, and the Winter India which the 
tourist sees during the cold-weather weeks is not the 
real one which the Anglo-Indian knows the year 
around. The military man, the civilian officer, the 



xii INTRODUCTION 

missionary, planter, and merchant has each his own 
India and view-point; and the British visitor, who 
is passed from home to home by the endless chain 
of Anglo-Indian hospitality, sees and thinks differ- 
ently from the other tourists who suffer the drear 
hotels, the dak banglas, and the railway-station 
rooms. 

The worst hotels in the world are those of India, 
and a British traveler has truthfully written : ' ' You 
will enjoy your traveling in India if you have so 
many friends there that you need never put foot 
in a hotel. If you have not, you had better go some- 
where else." Each winter the peninsula holds a 
growing number of surprised and resentful tourists, 
who, whether they land at Bombay or Calcutta, usu- 
ally conclude that the shortest route across India 
is the best one. One month or six weeks is the 
average stay; and very few tourists ever go to 
the hills for the summer and come back to the plains 
for a second cold-weather season of travel. The 
average tourist sacrifices itineraries without com- 
punction, and lives to warn away aged and invalid 
tourists and to convince those with weak lungs and 
impaired digestions that death waits in Indian 
hotels. 

The glamour of the East does not often or for long 
enthrall one while touring Hindustan. Later it as- 
serts itself, reveals its haunting charm; and then, 
be it months or years afterward, he "hears the East 
a-callin'." He forgets the ice in the bath-tubs at 
Agra and Delhi, the bitterly cold nights in drafty, 
dusty, springless cars, and in visions he sees only 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

"the sunshine an' the palm-trees an' the tinkly 
temple bells," the brilliantly costumed people, and 
the miracles of architecture scattered so lavishly 
from end to end of the empire. 

A new India for the tourist will date from the 
g:reat durbar at Delhi in 1903, and India, which has 
been a winter preserve for visiting English, will be 
virtually discovered and opened to a wider clientele, 
made as possible and fit for luxurious travel as 
Egypt. Equally this day of cheap travel and cheap 
living will vanish as completely as on the Nile. 

For one to announce that he will spend a winter 
in India is hardly more definite or precise than to 
say that he will winter in Europe. India is a very 
large country,— several large countries, — since it 
equals in area and population all of Europe outside 
of Russia; and one travels the nineteen hundred 
miles of its extent from south to north through as 
many political divisions as there are great divisions 
of Europe, and differing as greatly in climate, phy- 
sical features, and inhabitants. The Spaniard does 
not differ more from the Laplander than the sooty 
Tamil from the blue-eyed Afridi, the weak Bengali 
from the fighting Rajput or the fierce Sikh. Besides 
the thirteen provinces under British rule, there are 
six hundred and fifty native states; but only two 
hundred of them are of great importance, since na- 
tive states range in size from Hyderabad, the size of 
Italy, to single villages in Kathiawar and tiny valleys 
in the Himalayan foot-hills, empires two miles 
square. 

The census of 1901 gave a total of 294,360,356 in- 



xiv INTEODUCTION 

habitants— five times as many Hindus as Moham- 
medans, and one hundred and nine times as many 
natives as English. The fourteen distinct races fol- 
low eight forms of religious belief, and speak some 
two hundred and forty languages and three hundred 
dialects ; all legislative acts are published in English, 
Persian, Bengali, and Hindustani— and then only 
one man in ten can read. The permanence of British 
rule and the safety of British interests lie in this 
diversity of race, language, government, and religion. 
In division is strength, in discord is stability, since 
their race hatreds, jealousies, animosities, and an- 
tipathies would never permit a native leader to be 
acceptable to all the native malcontents, and patriot- 
ism or any national spirit is as lacking as the sense 
of those words, and of even the word for gratitude. 
With no common language or religion, no national 
feeling, in this congress of nations, one may para- 
phrase a certain interrogative and exclaim: "The 
Indians ! Who are they ? ' ' 

One fifth of the human race dwells between the 
Himalayas and the ocean ; the records of their civil- 
ization go back for three thousand years, and his- 
tory has been written upon history on those plains. 
Rice— two hundred and ninety-five kinds of rice, 
called by as many names in as many tongues— and 
pulse are the staple food of this great agricultural 
people, drought and famine the lot of some state or 
province each year, with plague and cholera seldom 
absent. Two great famines and the continual rav- 
ages of the bubonic pest greatly reduced the popu- 
lation during the last decade of the past century, 



INTRODUCTION xv 

the decrease in the native states being many times 
greater than in the British provinces. Increased 
areas of irrigation and cultivation have made it pos- 
sible for the increasing millions to live— to half live, 
according to European standards, for the Indian 
coolie or agricultural worker is lovi'est in the scale of 
living and wages and in standard of comfort of any 
Asiatic. Great calamities and scourges afford the 
only relief from over-population,— a population in 
which the women are in deficit to the number of six 
millions, and their illiteracy so great that only one 
woman in one hundred and sixty can read. 

All these diverse races and peoples are picturesque 
to look upon, with their graceful draperies of bril- 
liant colors and the myriad forms of turbans; but 
they are not an attractive, a winning, a sympathetic, 
or a lovable people. They are as antipathetic and de- 
void of charm as the Chinese, as callous, as deficient 
in sympathy and the sense of pity as those next 
neighbors of theirs in Asia, and as impossible for the 
Occidental to fathom or comprehend,— an irresisti- 
ble, inexplicable, unintelligible repulsion controlling 
one. India vexes one sadly because of the irrational, 
illogical turns of the Indian mind and character, the 
strange impasses in the Indian brain, the contra- 
dictions of traits; and, because of the many things 
he cannot account for or reach solution of, he quits 
the country baffled and in irritation — forever the 
great gulf yawning between the Occidental and the 
Asiatic. "East is East, and West is West." 

Not one of the innumerable tongues that he hears 
spoken by the common people in the bazaars falls 



xvi INTRODUCTION 

musically on the ear, and beyond the numerals and 
a few utility words he is little tempted to dabble even 
with Urdu, the camp language, the lingua franca 
of the upper part of the peninsula. Jao! (Begone !) 
is the first word he learns and most constantly uses, 
the last syllable uttered on leaving. 

From the babel of tongues, with no conunon al- 
phabet, has come a confusion of spelling, and 'the 
modern or Hunterian method, although officially 
adopted by the government in 1880, does not enjoy 
general acceptance and use in India. Sir William 
Hunter gave years to investigating and recording 
local usages, to transliterating from Sanskrit and the 
vernacular the geographic names of the peninsula, 
and the publication of his great Gazetteer should 
have ended the confusion of nomenclature. Many 
of his departures were too radical for the older 
Anglo-Indians to accept— Saw^fZa was not the same 
as bungalow to them, kuli did not represent coolie, 
nor pankha the cooling punka ; and five, eleven, and 
seventy-two ways of spelling a single place-name 
continue in common use — three distinct systems of 
spelling and local usage still prevailing, often in 
determined opposition to the Hunterian method. 
The first American authority, which is followed in 
this volume, does not wholly accept Sir William 
Hunter's decisions. The new method will ultimately 
prevail, but with another generation. 



WINTER INDIA 




WINTER INDIA 

CHAPTER I 

ON India's coral strand 

^HE monkeys built a bridge for Rama to 
cross to Ceylon, and sections of the 
causeway by which Adam traversed 
the Palk Strait remain as evidence of 
his good fortune on tour; but for us 
there was the worst of many bad "B. I." boats, and 
a night of never to be forgotten misery, disgust, and 
discomfort on the Gulf of Manaar's deceptive waters. 
Of all dream nights in the tropics, none matched 
that night on which we coursed slowly along the 
south shore of Ceylon, from Colombo westward. 
Enormous stars pulsed in an intense indigo sky, the 
moon rose and, streaming across a summer sea, made 
a heaven above, beneath, and far around us. In the 
midst of this silvery world floated the odorous, un- 
tidy coasting steamer, from whose decks we in- 
stinctively lifted our skirts by day, and across which 
by dark sped myriads of enormous brown roaches. 
The dark boxes of cabins rustled with these fleeing 
insects when a light was brought, and we retreated 
to spend the night in deck chairs. 



4 WINTER INDIA 

Some cross current in that pent-up pocket of. 
Manaar makes it a rival of the English Channel for 
nausea; but at daylight the ship anchored in shal- 
low, gray-green waters seven miles off the low-ly- 
ing coast of the Indian peninsula— "India's coral 
strand"— and for two hours it rocked there more 
fully to complete the misery of two hundred coolie 
passengers, heaped together on the forward deck like 
so much cargo. It was slow work disembarking 
these limp folk, who fell prone in every stage and 
attitude of misery fore and aft on the reeling tender. 
A greasy bench was reserved for us amidships, fairly 
touching the boilers, and, after inhaling steam and 
engine grease for an hour, we reached the snow- 
white beach. Inky-black cargo coolies in red and 
white draperies filed up and down the sandy shore 
and the narrow pier of Tuticorin, and there was local 
color to spare; color, too, in the Custom-house, 
where an aldermanic black official, with an exag- 
gerated sausage of a turban linked around his caste- 
marked brow, received us with unctuous gravity, 
listened to our declaration that we had neither 
spirits, ammunition, nor firearms, and let us go 
with our unopened luggage, free to wander at will 
from that furthest end of the empire to the utter- 
most mountain wall, without official interference or 
question, welcome without passport or permit, free 
from espionage and annoyance : a liberty of entrance, 
a courteously opened door, that covers the American 
tourist with chagrin as he contrasts it with the land- 
ing at any of his own ports. 

Tuticorin 's white walls and houses, white sand 




'■•r" 



^Tf 



ON INDIA'S CORAL STRAND 7 

streets, and the paling turquoise sky were back- 
ground only for the stage processions and groups of 
the blackest people on earth. Heavens ! how black 
they were ! How very black ! When Marco Polo 
came to the Malabar coast, he said: ''The children 
Ihat are born here are black enough, but the blacker 
they are, the more they are thought of, so that they 
become as black as devils." 

The Tamil people, ebony black, inky black, sooty 
black, tall and spare to emaciation, lilted past us on 
the thin, spindle legs of storks. A mountain of red 
peppers was heaped in one white square, and scores 
of the blackest Tamil women, in pepper-red dra- 
peries and much silver jewelry, slowly walked and 
worked around its edges. It was too theatrical, too 
barefacedly a color tableau set to catch the tourist 
eye, and I was convinced that it lasted only for that 
half-hour. The primitive hotel facing the railway 
station was but a loge looking upon the white road- 
way of a stage, where a specially engaged troupe of 
tall Tamils and noble white sacred bullocks paraded 
for our delight. When the train came in there was 
bedlam drama at the station's street door; then all 
the black troupe made exit and melted away to dis- 
tance and shade; there was an interval, an entr'acte, 
and we went over and behind the scenes for a while. 

The station-master was black, the telegraph op- 
erator was shades blacker, and an uncut emerald, 
swinging from the upper rim of one ear, held me with 
a great fascination while he skimmed the handful of 
despatches. First and last, and all of the time, in 
Indian travel, one telegraphs, and then sends more 



8 WINTER INDIA 

telegrams ahead, to any and every person connected 
with his future movements. One telegraphs to dak 
banglas, to station rooms and hotels, that he is com- 
ing; to station-masters that he shall want sleeping 
accommodation on certain trains; to local guides to 
secure their services; to high priests, magistrates, 
commissioners, and commandants that he wishes to 
see certain temples or sacred treasuries of jewels ; 
and— the government telegraphs being moderate in 
price— one may "wire" away as recklessly as an 
American railway president for a comparative trifle. 
The Tuticorin station walls were hung with notices 
and framed regulations, and there was posted a 
formidable black list of fines and punishments judi- 
cially awarded ; the offender and his offense paraded 
to all who travel. Pattu This and Moolie That were 
fined ''for letting their cattle stray and be killed on 
the track"; another had been caught "riding on the 
trucks without a ticket"— presumably some passen- 
gers, having tickets, do ride on the trucks. They 
run the Indian railways for the good of the stock- 
holders evidently, and receivers of unhappy railways 
in America might learn lessons of economy in this 
land of want, for this is only a periodical advertise- 
ment which I cut from a Calcutta paper: 

EAST INDIAN EAILWAY 

Tenders for the right of picking cinders from ashpits and 

pumping engines during the twelve months 

ending 31st March 

Tenders will be received at the office of the Controller of 
Stores, East Indian Railway, Calcutta, up to noon of Thurs- 



ON INDIA'S CORAL STRAND 9 

flay, the 14th February , for the right of picking cinders 

from ashes removed from ashpits and pumping engines 
throughout the line during the twelve months from Ist April 
to 31st March . 

Form of tender, embodying full particulars, can be had on 
payment of Re. 1 to the Company's Chief Paymaster, Cal- 
cutta, or to the Storekeepers at Asansol, Jamalpur, Dinaj- 
pur, Allahabad and Cawnpore, to whom applications, with 
remittance, should be addressed. Applicants are also referred 
to the hand-bills posted at railway stations. 

All other payments, including a deposit of Rs. 100 as 
earnest money, will have to be made direct to the Company 's 
Chief Paymaster in Calcutta, whose receipt alone will be 
recognized, and no payment in respect thereof will be re- 
ceived in the Store Department. Hoondees and stamps will 
not be accepted. 

The Company will not be bound to accept the highest, or 
any, tender, and reserves the right to accept any tender in 
part only. 

By order, 
J. OATES, 
Controller of Stores. 

Calcutta. 

We had heard much of the luxury of Indian rail- 
way travel, of the roomy compartment and dress- 
ing-room that came to the holder of a first-class 
ticket without extra charge. We found that the 
roomy compartment was destined for four people, 
and contained two long leather-covered seats, or 
couches, along the side of the ear, with two hanging 
berths that could be dropped at night. The seats 
had no springs and no backs, unless one chose to 
lean against the single, rattling window-pane, that 
lifted by a strap like a carriage window. The cast- 
iron fittings in the dressing-room were ruder and 



10 WINTER INDIA 

more primitive than those of any American emigrant 
car, and when the train began its deliberate progress, 
we found that the body of the car swung so low, so 
nearly rested on the trucks, that we were jolted and 
shaken and deafened, as if in a coal-car, and covered 
with the dust of the road-bed. Nothing different 
or better was found, save once, in any part of India, 
When night came, a feeble oil-lamp was introduced 
through the roof, that made it possible to distinguish 
outlines and large objects, but not to read. 

The train jogged along northward through a flat, 
cultivated country, with aloe and thorn hedges in- 
closing the tracks. After the rank greenness of Cey- 
lon, these dusty fields of the dry season seemed poor 
and sterile. The train halted near mud villages, and 
the station platforms were covered with lean and 
leisurely black folks in red and white cotton dra- 
peries, standing at ease, their foreheads so dotted 
and striped with red, white, and ocher caste-marks, 
those ciphers, crests, and hall-marks of their creed, 
that they looked like so many painted red Indians of 
our West on the war-path. There was the usual sta- 
tion bedlam when the train drew up in darkness at 
Madura, and we followed a Tamil leader out to 
blacker darkness across the tracks to the dak bangla. 
The coolie who carried the bearer's tin trunk on his 
head stumbled over tree roots and finally struck a 
branch overhead. There was a crash, a bang, and 
a wreck of Tamil property, and then a flood of Tamil 
language, as David, our venerable traveling servant, 
poured out his wrath on the whining offender, who 
had been bruised and dented a little himself. 



ON INDIA'S CORAL STRAND 11 

The dak bangla was Spartan in its simplicity, the 
government providing only beds, chairs, tables, and 
bath-tubs, the stern necessities of comfort in a hot 
climate. The stillness was as intense as the dark- 
ness all night, and after the chota hazri (little break- 
fast) of the Indian dawn we drove three miles 
across awakening Madura— a city of low, white 
houses, with green cocoa-palms and broad banana 
leaves the only strong color notes. The white houses 
Avere dusted and clouded with the red earth sur- 
rounding them, all dilapidated and in need of repair, 
of fall cleaning and whitewash. All Madura was 
awakening at that dewy hour, — tousled folks who 
came to the doors, yawned like alligators, stretched 
their leans arms in air, and scratched their heads 
vigorously. Men lounged face down on charpoys, 
or string-beds, or lolled on the high shelves built 
in the alcoves beside the house doors, and chatted 
with neighbors who had also spent the night in the 
open; babies sprawled on the warm red earth, and 
pious women traced religious symbols in white chalk 
on the red thresholds. Every door had its sect-mark, 
its religious symbol and monogram, as much as the 
foreheads of the people. Every blank wall, too, was 
plastered over with fiat manure cakes, the common 
and universal fuel of the country, which one sees 
in process of manufacture and use from end to end 
of the empire ; a fuel whose rank smoke can be de- 
tected in everything one eats and drinks in India, 
from the earliest tea and toast of the morning to the 
final rice pudding and coffee at night ; a fuel whose 
use deprives the fields of their natural enrichment 



12 . WINTER INDIA 

and adds to the general poverty ; a fuel whose manu- 
facture—the gathering, kneading, and shaping into 
flat cakes to be slapped against a wall to dry — is 
such ignoble work that rarely any but women are em- 
ployed in the unending task. 

After these early morning sights in the streets, 
the fantastic Teppa Kulam was a bit of fairyland, 
a great tank inclosed in a striped red and white 
stone parapet, with a dazzling marble platform in 
its center upholding the most fanciful little white 
coroneted temple, the glorified pavilion of a con- 
fectioner's dreams, four mites of lesser pavilions re- 
flected from each corner of the platform. We drove 
down shady lanes, past the elephant stables, to the 
garden of the English judge to see the great banian 
tree, whose main trunk, over seventy feet in circum- 
ference, is surrounded by a hundred lesser trunks 
and newly rooted filaments — a leafy hall of columns, 
measuring one hundred and eighty feet across. 

We went to the spacious Moorish and Hindu sev- 
enteenth-century palace of the great ruler, Tirumala 
Nayak, and after a small boy of the neighbor- 
hood had taken us in charge and scolded, stamped 
liis foot, and pushed an old gray-haired sweeper 
about, that abject being produced the keys and ad- 
mitted us to cool, shadowy halls and council-cham- 
bers with richly carved and paneled ceilings, to the 
king's bedchamber, where a carved and gilded bed 
once swung by chains from latticed ceilings, and 
down whose chains the clever thief slid to steal the 
crown jewels; and from the terraced roof where the 
prime minister used to dwell we saw the whole, 




TIIK, fllvKAT Cdl'UK.V. MAOflJA TKMI'I.K. 



ON INDIA'S CORAL STRAND 15 

flat-roofed city with the great gopuras, or temple 
gateways, standing like so many Gibraltars in its 
midst. 

These gopuras loom and dwindle away toward the 
sky in such a way as to make all things seem toys, 
and the people pygmies. One such monument would 
be architectural fame for any city, but Madura's 
rich shrine is protected by nine such soaring, py- 
ramidal sky-scrapers, the four in the outer wall nine 
stories in height. These most ornamental of de- 
fensive constructions begin with door-posts of single 
stones, sixty feet in height, and rise, course upon 
course, carved with rows of gods and goddesses, pea- 
cocks, Hulls, elephants, horses, lions, and a bewilder- 
ing entanglement of symbolical ornament all colored 
and gilded, diminishing with distance until the 
stone trisul at the top, two hundred and fifty feet 
in air, looks like the finest jeweler's work. This 
great shrine of Shiva and his fish-eyed consort is a 
labyrinth where one easily wanders a whole morn- 
ing. The anteroom or vestibule of the temple is a 
long hall or choltry, an open pavilion divided by 
four rows of most elaborately carved columns, where 
the king used to receive the annual visits of Shiva — 
a miserable little black image. Neither kings nor 
idols occupied it then, but a legion of shopkeepers 
were gathered there, who vaunted their goods and 
pushed their wares upon us with fury and zeal — 
cloth, cotton, lace, brass, glass, perfumes, incense, 
and fruits. One spectacled merchant was casting up 
his accounts in a ledger made of strips of talipot 
palm leaves, an orthodox fashion as old as writing. 



16 WINTER INDIA 

Others pressed upon us pieces of filmy, gold-bor- 
dered Madras muslins, eight yards of which are re- 
quired for a turban or a woman's sari. There were 
none of the ancient India muslins, those "floating 
mists," or ''webs of the air," of which one has 
heard but never sees in this day of Manchester piece 
goods, steam-mills, and spindles. 

Our Tamil servant, being a Christian, would not 
enter the heathen temple, so consigned us to a high- 
caste Brahman draped superbly in a white sheet, 
and striped between his eyebrows with the frown- 
ing mark of Shiva. Inside the temple compound, 
every forehead was freshly painted, breasts and 
arms striped and smeared with other hall-marks of 
piety. The black images were streaming with oil 
and butter, garlanded with chains of marigolds, and 
surrounded by abject worshipers. In that temple 
one may fully realize what heathenism and idolatry 
really are. One meets there the India of the Sun- 
day-school books, and is appalled with the seeming 
hopelessness of the missionary's task, of the impos- 
sibility of ever making any impression upon such a 
people, of coping with such superstition. Yet the 
American Mission in Madura is one of the largest 
and most successful in India, and in this southern 
presidency one fifth of the people are Christians. 
Whole villages even are Christian, Syrian, Nestorian, 
and early Jesuit missionaries having labored there 
since the third and fourth centuries. 

We could look down dark temple corridors to 
darker shrines, where faint lights glimmered and 
the highest-caste Brahmans were tending the images 



ON INDIA'S CORAL STRAND 17 

of Shiva and Minakshi. Every May these idols are 
paraded in state to another part of the temple, and 
the gold and silver chariots and palanquins, the 
jeweled elephant trappings, and all the treasury of 
gems belonging to the shrine are brought to light. 
The Madura temple jewels are among the finest in 
southern India, and one sees them by special permit, 
and afterward pays a fee for the cleansing of the 
jewels. Despite the rupees and rupees that pour in 
during the cold-weather season of tourists' defile- 
ment, no one has ever seen the famous sapphires 
and big pearls when they were not greasy and 
gummed over from much tourist and Brahman 
handling. Other famous treasures are a ruby-covered 
scepter, three feet long ; several pairs of golden shoes 
and gauntlets coated with rubies ; and a head-dress 
fringed with tallow-drop emeralds. 

The famous Hall of a Thousand Columns does not 
contain nearly that many columns or carved pillars, 
and, despite the miracle of stone- worker 's art lav- 
ished on them, and Fergusson's praises, it was dis- 
appointing. The tank in the heart of the labyrinth, 
a water court or quadrangle, was most picturesque 
with the crowds descending the steps to purify them- 
selves in the water, where broken reflections of the 
great gopuras wavered across the thick and oily 
liquid. Sacred elephants came shuffling across sunny 
courts, their bells, swinging by long ropes over their 
embroidered trappings, clanging an alarum. Hav- 
ing returned from the river with the gold lotas filled 
with water for the daily bath of the goddess, they 
stood at ease in a shady hall, swinging their painted 



18 WINTER INDIA 

trunks and shifting their weight from one foot to the 
other. At the word of command, the hugest of them 
tossed his trunk in salute, made a court courtesy, 
and, nosing the ground, picked up the tiniest silver 
three-anna piece. The elephants flicked their flanks 
with fly-brushes of green twigs as they stood guard 
benignly over the hall where jewelers were hammer- 
ing, welding, and carving gold and silver ornaments. 
Veiled women sat around a merchant of cheaper 
gauds, who, with a small prentice boy, cracked or 
filed off the old bracelets and soldered on the new. 

It was then ten o'clock in the morning, the heat 
was terrific, the sun blinding, and we had spent five 
busy hours abroad. The dak bangla was an asylum 
of coolness and shade, and after a bountiful tiffin the 
keeper presented his account-book, we entered the 
items, added up the bill, and settled our score with 
the British government in India. The keeper bowed 
profoundly, and wished the "ladyships" a good 
health, when a fee had gon,e his way; and then, in 
strict order of social precedence, the cook and the 
coolie, the sweeper, the water-carrier, and what not, 
presented themselves, bowing, at different doors. 
They rubbed their palms upward across their faces, 
extended them to us, wobbling their fingers as if 
gathering grains of rice, and whined: "Prissint! 
Prissint! Memsahib!" We gave to each one, and, 
without stopping to bow or to thank us, each one 
looked greedily into the other's palm and went away 
loudly wrangling— a first encounter with the most 
cringing, graceless, shameless tribe of alms-seekers 
in all the world. 











OKTAIl. OF GiirrKA, MAOriA ri:MlM 1. 



CHAPTER II 



TRICHINOPOIJ AND TANJORE 




E rumbled and jolted along all that 
hot afternoon over a monotonous, dry 
brown plain of parched fields and 
thorn hedges. There was uproar in 
the forward part of the train as it 
left Dindigal station, a hundred voices clamored 
and shrieked, and a hundred heads hung from 
the windows of the third-class cars. The train 
halted, men leaped from it and ran back, while all 
on the station platform ran up the track toward a 
small object beside the rails. The station-master 
came on toward the train, holding fast to a lean 
little black imp, who was struggling to release him- 
self and fairly bursting with wrath. An excited 
woman, wailing and declaiming with uncovered face, 
leaned from a forward car window, talking to an ex- 
cited group on the ground. At last, an oily babu 
came to tell us that the small boy had "had a dis- 
pute with his mother," and, not wishing to leave 
Dindigal, had jumped out of the window. "His 
fearful mother had thought him killed," said the 
babu, but at sight of the lost heir her fear gave way 
to fury. She raved and ranted like an Indian Bern- 
hardt as she leaned from the window, unveiled, talk- 

21 



22 WINTER INDIA 

ing to the station officers ; and the small boy talked 
back to everybody, until he was suddenly lifted by 
the back, like a kitten, and handed through the win- 
dow to "his fearful mother's" arms. "Because of 
his youth they will not arrest him, ' ' said the babu ; 
and, from the shrieks that came from that compart- 
ment, there was no need for the law to add aught 
to the chastisement of the barefaced, nose-ringed 
mother. 

We were in the heart of the tobacco country, and 
Trichinopoli in these modern days is as much a 
synonym for cheroots as Dindigal. Samuel Daniel, 
the local guide, who claimed us in the darkness of 
Trichinopoli station, had the advertisement of his 
own cigar factory on the back of his card, and every- 
where we saw and smelled the local cheroot. We slept 
in the travelers' rooms in the Trichinopoli station, 
after dining at a table trailed over with bougain- 
villea vines and set with glasses of great double hibis- 
cus. Trains rumbled by all night, the mosquitos 
sang a deafening chorus, and at sunrise we sped 
across another city of dirty white houses, whose in- 
habitants were just waking and scratching, and 
whose Brahman families were marking the door-sills 
and themselves for the day, the houses' toilet as 
necessary as their own. 

The rock of Trichinopoli, exactly as it looked in 
old geography pictures, loomed ahead; and after a 
few turns in the narrow streets we came to the 
carved entrance of the staircase, tunneled up through 
the solid rock to temples on the side and summit. 
Two elephants went past on their way to the river 



TRICHINOPOLI AND TANJORE 23 

to fill the sacred water-vessels, and we started to 
climb the two hundred and ninety steps worn slip- 
pery with the tread of generations of barefooted 
worshipers and painted with the perpendicular red 
and white stripes of Shiva, Our elderly, pompous 
guide was voluble, measured, and minute, and per- 
mitted no trifling nor omissions. Samuel Daniel 
talked like Samuel Johnson, using the grandiloquent, 
polysyllabic literary language of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. We had engaged him to show us the sights, 
and he did it thoroughly. "Here is the place where 
many hundreds of people were crushed to death in 
the dark of the afternoon of a festival in 1849," he 
said. Since then, the British government has cut 
windows in the rock, placed lamps, and forbidden 
climbing after four o'clock. At one landing we 
found a group of little boys sitting before a greasy, 
black image of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, 
receiving instruction from a Brahman teacher; at 
another landing a high priest stood statuesque in 
yellow robes, the sacred white Brahman thread and 
bead on his neck, his forehead smeared with ashes; 
and at last we came out to the air at a small shrine 
on an outer shelf of the rock, where Ave had a far- 
reaching view of the level plain. After one more 
tunnel staircase we gained the open summit, climbed 
a last pinnacle, and found ourselves two hundred 
and thirty-six feet above the city, that lay like a 
relief -map at our feet, the fortress-like gopuras of 
the Srirangam temples rising from green groves 
southward, A little temple to Ganesha crowns the 
rock, the goal of the breathless pilgrimage. Half- 



24 WINTER INDIA 

way down the staircase, we were deafened by the 
flutes and flageolets of the priests and flag-bearers 
toiling up with water-jars just brought from the 
river. The sacred elephants at the foot of the stairs 
saluted us with lifted fore feet and waving trunks, 
rubbing their foreheads as they begged, plainly de- 
manding a "prissint," after the custom of the 
country. 

It was a short drive of three miles down to the 
temple of Vishnu at Srirangam, on an island in the 
dry bed of the Kaveri. This, the largest temple in 
southern India, is on a magnificent scale, its fifteen 
gopuras so many marvels of architecture ; the great- 
est of them falling short of its intended three hun- 
dred feet by the interruption of building during 
the French and English wars of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, when the French intrenched themselves at Sri- 
rangam and mounted cannon on the gopuras. The 
outer, inclosing wall of the temple measures three 
thousand feet each way, and within that lies a first 
quadrangle of bazaars. A second gopura admits to 
a quadrangle where the three thousand high-caste 
Brahmans of the temple dwell. We drove on through 
a third and a fourth gopura, in one passage disputing 
right of way with a temple elephant, who backed out 
before our brougham, and, Avith the courtesy of a 
well-bred creature, swept his trunk and lifted a fore 
foot in apology. The last gateway had great teak 
doors, and the doctor of the temple and director of 
the Srirangam government hospital met us there; 
also the council of priests and five huge elephants, 
their foreheads striped with the same yellow and 



TRICHINOPOLI AND TANJORE 25 

white tridents of Vishnu as their piously frescoed 
keepers. We saw the famous Hall of the Horse Col- 
umns, where single blocks of granite are as intricately 
carved as wood or ivory, and we saw the other curi- 
osities of the stone-cutter's art, serried columns dis- 
playing the many incarnations of Vishnu. We saw, 
too, the Hall of a Thousand Columns — nine hundred 
odd shabby, whitewashed pillars only— and from the 
roof we were given a glimpse of the golden cupola 
covering the shrine of the sacred image— the identi- 
cal image brought by Rama in the age of fable, and 
which grew fast to the ground when left for a 
moment. They were then preparing for the great 
mela or festival of early December, when forty 
thousand pilgrims assemble, crowds spending day 
and night in the temple for three weeks. 

We were shown to a last pavilion, given arm- 
chairs before a table, the five elephants were sta- 
tioned in line across the entrance, and fierce-fore- 
headed Brahmans multiplied. Strings of keys 
clanged on the table, five clumsy wooden chests were 
lugged in, five padlocks yielded to blows and 
wrenches, and the table was heaped with riches ; the 
feast of jewels was spread, and a flood of color and 
light illuminated the shadowy, pavilion. Gold armor 
and ornaments and utensils incrusted with jewels 
were heaped on the table and handed us to examine, 
until one wondered if any more rubies, emeralds, sap- 
phires, diamonds, or pearls were left in southern In- 
dia. Gold helmets, crowns, breastplates, gauntlets, 
brassards, belts, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, were 
sown with rubies of thumb-nail size, with sapphires 



26 WINTER INDIA 

and diamonds seeded between, and fringed with 
pearls and uncut emeralds. Plain gold salvers, water- 
bottles, gourds, and bowls had neither value nor in- 
terest in our eyes after the play of gems. Even the 
Prince of Wales's gold salver, inscribed "Dec. 11th, 
1875, " to commemorate his visit to the temple, seemed 
dull and commonplace. Far better was the gold 
breastplate fringed with tallow-drop emeralds, which 
he also gave as a souvenir of his visit to this great 
shrine of Vishnu. There were several Vishnu tri- 
dents in diamonds, and jeweled feathers trembling 
with diamond fringes; turban ornaments in which 
jeweled birds held great drops of rubies and emeralds 
in their beaks ; a jeweled umbrella-stick with an inch- 
long sapphire for its ferrule, a crust of rubies for its 
handle, and a fringe of tinkling bo-leaves edged with 
pearls. Four great wings of head-ornaments cov- 
ered with jewels had been given by a pious beggar, 
who had gathered more than fifty thousand rupees 
in alms to spend for such gifts to the gods and gauds 
for the temple, his stones better cut and set and of 
better quality than any others in the treasury. 
Strings and strings of pearls— pearls strung alone 
or alternating with balls of emerald, ruby, or carved 
gold— slipped through our hands to weariness. Our 
eyes were sated with splendor and color when, as a 
climax, they produced a fine bit of gold carving, 
representing a religious procession, the idol in the 
state chair cut from a large ruby, the tiny face, the 
drapery, and the many ornaments most cleverly 
done. 

It was a characteristic and a picturesque scene 



TRICHINOPOLI AND TANJORE 29 

there under the mandapan, the riches of India laid 
out on a dirty cotton table-cover !— the wise elephants 
a contrast in good manners to the horde of noisy 
and excited Brahmans. Although it had required 
the intervention of three officials to permit us to see 
the jewels, and each chest is locked with five keys 
and sealed with five seals of that many Brahman 
keepers, thefts are frequent, and fifty thousand 
rupees' worth of jewels vanished at one time. The 
police kept their eyes on each of the priestly band, 
the elephants blinked and watched too ; and when we 
had offered our rupees to clean the jewels, the 
Brahmans set up an approving shout, dropped gar- 
lands of marigolds around our necks, and presented 
us with fragrant lemons. We rose to go, and the 
most gaudily painted and blackest old Brahman of 
them all pushed forward, shouting: "I want my pho- 
tograph now. You have it in that box. You took 
it an hour ago. I am Venketerama lyenzar, revenue 
inspector of Srirangam. Send it to me by the 
post." And with the elephants trumpeting and 
nosing for two-anna pieces in the dust, we drove 
away to the silk and silver and muslin shops of 
**Trichi," as one soon learns to call it. There the 
lahsildar spied our brougham, and, descending from 
his bullock-cart, paid us a visit at the silk merchant's 
shop front— the courteous, gracious old tahsildar, 
a fine product of two civilizations. 

Samuel Daniel, our guide with the tobacco fac- 
tory attached, was radiant with the success of the 
whole morning. Elated from his converse with 
Brahmans, doctors, and tahsildar, he dropped so 



30 WINTER INDIA 

much architectural and historical information about 
Chidambram, Conjeveram, and Mahabalipur, that 
we said : ' ' Why, you must have read Fergusson ? ' ' 

"Yes, your ladyship. I have the book. Ten 
rupees. ' ' 

"Then you had better go with us as guide." 

"Yes, your ladyship," and he went and made our 
way so plain, so smooth and interesting, that we com- 
pared all other guides in India with him to their 
detriment. 

A Catholic priest in cool white robes tiffined also 
at the station, and told of some of the great successes 
in mission work in the south; how whole villages 
have become Christian when the priest permits them 
to retain their caste. "It is among our converts, or 
in places where we have worked before them, that 
your Protestant missionaries have most success," he 
said. 

From the rock of Trichinopoli we had seen the 
great pagoda tower of Tanjore on the horizon, and 
as we rumbled the thirty miles across the Kaveri 
plain in the early, showery afternoon it rose in 
height as we advanced, and the train stopped fairly 
in its shadow. Leaving David to watch the luggage 
at the station, Samuel Daniel hurried us to the 
temple gate and under the two gopuras to the striped 
inner court, where the thirteen-story vimana, or 
tower, of Shiva tapers away until its great trisul 
seems to touch the very sky. 

"Ah ! you see here the cleverosity of the OKI World 
builders and the numerosity of their carvings," said 
Daniel, proudly. 



TRICHINOPOLI AND TANJORE 31 

After the French occupied tlie temple as a fortress 
in 1777, it was never purified or sanctified again, and 
the deserted court was a contrast to the other temples 
we had seen. Two barefooted priests slipped silently 
across an angle of the cloisters, the colossal stone 
bull crouched under its grease and garlands, and 
only the fluttering parrakeets gave any sign or sound 
of life to the vast inclosure. We gazed in wonder- 
ment at the court, the tower, and the exquisite little 
temple of Subrahmanya, the martial son of Shiva, on 
whose steps we met two glib, sightseeing babus, who 
began at once to upbraid us for the proselytizing 
work of the missionaries. The one with the largest 
Vishnu mark on his brow had graduated as a civil en- 
gineer at Calcutta University, but the exact sciences 
had not taught him to disbelieve in greasy images, 
or opened his eyes to any absurdities in his creed, 
and his torrent of words came like the flow of a 
phonograph. "Why do you come here to destroy 
our religion?" he pattered. I denied the charge. 
"Why do you wish us to give up our gods for your 
gods?" I denied the plural, and after the twittering 
parrakeet had followed us awhile, we left him shout- 
ing the rest of his set speech to the empty court. 

It was a rest to find one heathen temple deserted, 
to be spared the oily Brahman guide, and to trace 
in peace the details of this most beautiful of Dra- 
vidian temples, the purest example of that style. 
The great vimana, or pagoda, thirteen stories in 
height, mounts like the gopuras of Madura, course 
upon course, carved over with figures and ornaments, 
two hundred feet to the ball at the peak— a granite 



32 WINTER INDIA 

mass weighing more than twelve tons, and which 
could have been placed there only by rolling it up 
an inclined plane more than a mile in length. In 
repairing the tower a few centuries ago, the sculptors 
introduced a face in one floral medallion that was not 
of any Hindu type. The local prophets said that it 
wore the features of the people who would conquer 
India, and it is easily recognized now as an admir- 
able portrait of John Bright. We found Flaxman's 
beautiful tablet to the memory of Schwartz in the 
church where the great missionary preached. The 
church faces a tank where picturesque files of women 
with brass jars on their heads went up and down four 
separate flights of terrace steps, each for a special 
caste. 

The elephants, which are kept "for the honor and 
glory of the palace," now that rajas ride in landaus 
and automobiles, were swaying uneasily at their 
posts in the palace courtyard, trumpeting and toss- 
ing trunk-loads of leaves and straw on their backs. 
We were shown the black and white marble durbar 
hall of the palace, and the library full of illuminated 
Persian books, and of precious Tamil manuscripts 
written on strips of palm leaves. When we had wan- 
dered through all the inner courts, such a train of 
guides, lackeys, ushers, keepers, sweepers, porters, 
and gardeners fawned with extended palms that even 
Samuel Daniel Avas dismayed, laid the coins on the 
flagstones, and walked away from the ensuing scene 
of combat. We were just in time to see the mahouts 
scramble to the elephants' necks as a fanfare of 
trumpets and two scarlet lancers heralded a landau 



TRICHINOPOLI AND TANJORE 33 

holding two pale yellow, heavily jeweled grandchil- 
dren of the raja returning from a drive. A bearer 
with a red umbrella ran after them, the elephants 
saluted with trunk and foot, and the sad-faced 
princelings disappeared in the palace. 

The railway station was as deserted as the temple 
court in the late afternoon, and M'e had the table 
brought out to the platform and enjoyed tea in the 
open air. A white tramp, a pure specimen of the 
genus hobo, the only one of his kind encountered in 
India, appeared silently with : "You are a European 
like myself, lady. Please give me a few rupees to get 
to Tuticorin." David and Daniel came running in 
alarm, and hastily swept table, books, chairs, and 
ourselves inside the refreshment-room and banged 
the doors, and the beery beggar slunk away to the 
native bazaar. The butler was decorating his white 
dinner-cloth with interlacing arabesques of black 
seeds dropped from a funnel, after which he arranged 
finger-bowls filled Avith black-eyed marigolds among 
his traceries and stood off to admire the effect. 
Again and again we marveled that the Hindu, with 
his gross stupidities and incompetencies, had yet 
been able so thoroughly to master the intricacies 
of an English dinner, the decoration of the table, 
the procession of the courses, the ceremony and de- 
corum of it all, with little of the incongruity and 
inequalities, the mixed splendor and shabbiness, that 
mark everything of the Hindu's own. 




CHAPTER III 

WITH chidambram's brahmans 

was our fine old Tamil Turveydrop, 
Samuel Daniel, who induced us to visit 
Chidambram after we had abandoned 
it i-n favor of Conjeveram, where the 
temple was said to be richer, the jewels 
more splendid. This artful one pictured "the clever- 
osity and numerosity of the sculptures," also "the 
numberlesses of the goddesses and the beauteousness 
of the temple's dancers, which makes it so popular 
for visitors," and our interest revived. 

As necessary precedent to every move one makes 
in India, enough telegrams were sent to negotiate a 
treaty. We wired the Chidambram station-master to 
have conveyances ready the next midnight to take 
us the three miles to the dak bangla. We wired the 
bangla-keeper that we were coming, two beds strong. 
We informed the local magistrate and the high 
priest that we wished to make an offering to the 
temple and to celebrate in honor of the goddess with 
a great dance in the Hall of a Thousand Columns 
and to see the famous temple jewels. Last, we be- 
sought the section superintendent of the railway to 
reserve a compartment in the next midnight train 
that would bear us away from Chidambram. 

34 



WITH CHIDAMBRAM'S BRAHMANS 35 

With the remoteness and seeming isolation among 
the black faces one has no fear or concern in these 
Hindu communities, trusting implicitly to that safety 
and order guaranteed one wherever the British flag 
floats and Kaiscr-i-Hind's initial letters grace offi- 
cial property. Else, when we stepped out on the 
lonely platform at Chidambram that rainy midnight, 
we would have thought twice before picking our way 
through sleeping pilgrims in the open waiting-room, 
and stowing ourselves away with every joint bent 
in a tiny box of a native cart, or "lie-down-bandy," 
for the ride into unknown blackness beyond. Daniel 
compressed himself with David and the larger lug- 
gage bundles into another small box on wheels, and 
the ponies spattered down a muddy road in the black 
shadows of overarching trees. Our driver had no 
turban, his hair was long and snaky, and the jerky 
motion of the bandy, and the driver's frequent 
flights out over the shafts to lead the pony by the 
bridle over bridges and around corners, sent those 
locks rippling down his l^ack— and my back, too, as 
I sat hatless, crouched flat on the bandy floor behind 
him. After what seemed a long race through the 
reek and blackness, past sodden fields and through 
dreary mud hamlets, we came in under the shadows 
of the great trees surrounding the dak bangla. 

With the abrupt reining up we slid out, or fell 
out, of the bandbox of a bandy, and our cramped 
members slowly jointed out straight again. Knocks, 
thumps, and calls brought no response from t^¥0 
front doors, and there was an uncanny quarter-hour 
of waiting before the swaying lantern of Daniel and 



36 WINTER INDIA 

David's bandy turned in at the gates— and yet an- 
other eerie quarter of an hour while the bandy 
drivers muttered in the near darkness, and our two 
protectors pounded and shouted at a far-away door. 
The moon struggled out in rare glimpses and gave 
us suggestion now and then of a great lawn and trees, 
a long, low, white building whose eaves extended 
over a continuous flagged porch— the regulation rest- 
house built by government for the use of traveling 
officials and other Europeans. 

A babel of angry voices came from the back of 
the compound, the loud talk and back talk, the in- 
cessant wrangle and jangle of untuned bells and 
Hindu servants, the most quarrelsome lower class 
in the world, after the Chinese. Their bickerings are 
an annoyance that frets the spirit and wears the 
nerves of the most adamantine traveler, and it is 
no wonder that the Buddha, and all saints and re- 
formers, first fled to the jungle for years of silent 
meditation. The keeper of the bangla appeared with 
his keys and a lantern. "Oh, yes, certingly, mem- 
sahib, ' ' he had received the telegram in due time and 
had tightly locked up the bangla and his own quar- 
ters and gone soundly to sleep— Hindu irresponsi- 
bility, ungraciousness, and indifference to the usual 
degree. 

The door clanged open and showed us the regu- 
lation lofty, cheerless, cement-floored room, as fit for 
prison as superior occupancy. One remembered 
those creepy "other stories" of Rudyard Kipling 
where lunatics and delirium tremens subjects hab- 
ited, and suicides took themselves off in, just such 



WITH CHIDAMBRAM'S BRAHMANS 37 

cheerless rooms, and that other more grisly story of 
the dead man concealed on rafters overhead in just 
such a forlorn place. The candles burning sullenly 
in tall glass bells showed us a great dining-table, 
ponderous arm-chairs and lounging-chair, and a 
broad cane-seated settee for a bed. Another such 
hygienic couch of the country was brought in 
from a black, echoing room beyond, and the ser- 
vants spread out our red razais, or wadded calico 
quilts, which every traveler in India must carry 
with him as bedding and covering, just as the 
Klondike miner carries his blankets when he "hits 
the trail." The rubber pillows were inflated, and 
the apartment was completely furnished and in 
order for occupancy. Before the alcohol lamp had 
boiled the water for the beef-tea of our midnight 
feast, the servants were snoring on the flags of the 
portico, lying on the door-mats with only a thin bit 
of dhurrie covering them, despite all one hears of 
the deadly effect of night air and the chill before the 
dawn. The most awful stillness succeeded, a silence 
that made one's ears ring, hushed our voices, and 
made us unconsciously put down spoons and cups 
noiselessly. No one had raised my terrors then with 
tales of the still occasionally existent thugs of 
southern India, of thieves who throttle by night and 
stealthily kill or maim an unbeliever as an act ac- 
ceptable to Kali and the other destroying divinities. 
The situation was all novel and amusing, and the 
poverty-stricken interior, the forlorn banquet-hall of 
this Waldorf of the neighborhood, furnished all the 
real color one could want. The stealthy dripping 



145320 



38 WINTER INDIA 

of the trees told of another gentle shower, and the 
steady snoring on the porch was as comforting and 
hypnotic as the purring of a home cat by the hearth 
— sufficient assurance that all was well at one o'clock 
and that the British government in India still lived 
and protected us. 

At seven o'clock repeated calls brought no answer 
from the portico ; the silence of broad daylight was 
more complete than that of midnight. The flagstones 
were deserted, and not a sign of life appeared on 
either side of the bangla. David and Daniel had 
most literally taken up their beds and walked — far 
away beyond hearing. A little girl with a nose-ring 
crept out and looked at us, another one joined her, 
and the two stared and smiled, nodded their nose- 
rings with friendly flops, and looked their fill— a 
steady, continuous, fascinated scrutiny — for a whole 
half-hour before David and Daniel appeared bearing 
tea and toast. Then David's irate voice rose in 
volume, well-sweeps creaked and tubs were filled, 
chickens ran cackling, smoke rose and sounds of life 
and cheer came from the keeper's house and kitchen. 
David wrathfully told how he had had to go to the 
village bazaar, a mile away, to get even the firewood 
to cook the first breakfast. 

While David ruled in the primitive mud kitchen 
the keeper of the bangla laid the table on the front 
portico, overlooking the broad, glistening green 
lawn, where squirrels frisked and little green par- 
rots squawked and flew about. The china, glass, 
and cutlery provided at these dak banglas are always 
good, and there is usually some attempt at splendor 



WITH CHIDAMBRAM'S BRAHMAN8 39 

in electroplated toast-racks and marmalade-stands. 
Our esthetic keeper of Chidambram put a great 
bouquet of yellow crysanthemums on the table, but 
the tablecloth was a thick honeycomb stuff, either a 
bed-spread or a bath-towel that some guest had left 
behind; and it was frescoed with hospitable records 
of a useful past in egg, coffee, and claret stains on a 
ground toned by the roadside's red dust of a season. 

The local magistrate appeared for a morning call, 
entering the gates in a large bullock-bandy, or cov- 
ered cart, drawn by two magnificent white bul- 
locks with humps on their shoulders, the bells on 
their necks announcing the pace of their leisurely 
trot. The turbaned and white-draperied grandee 
had hardly descended from this seeming vehicle of 
state or chariot of religious ceremony when the 
driver loosened the yoke, tilted the bandy over, and 
turned the splendid creatures loose to graze on the 
lawn. This custom of southern India, of releasing 
bullocks and ponies of their harness at once, gives 
hotel and bangla grounds in the Madras Presidency 
always a homely look, suggestive alike of pasture, 
race-course, and stable-yard. 

The magistrate was one of the finer types of high- 
caste Hindu, who added to his own Brahmanic cul- 
ture and inherited refinement an English university 
education and acquaintance with other ways of liv- 
ing and thinking. He had all the Oriental suavity 
and graceful address, and talked with us two of the 
despised sex quite on a social equality. He sat long 
at his ease, commenting upon the customs of his peo- 
ple and the peculiarities of life and architecture in 



40 WINTER INDIA 

southern India. He deplored the low estate and 
want of education among women ; praised the new 
era and the blessings of British rule, the good roads, 
schools, hospitals, and things not dreamed of before, 
that had come with the Western education, which 
had only begun to reach the mass of the people. His 
Western education had not, however, steeled him to 
shaking hands with a casteless unbeliever, and he 
kept tables and chairs between us as he rose to go. 

"I must go and hurry up the priests," said the 
suave judicial. "Since they know you cannot leave 
until midnight, they will not try to be ready before 
late afternoon. At one o'clock I will send my bandy 
and peon for you. You will find my bullocks faster 
than those you would get from the bazaar." And 
with more beautiful speeches about the honor of our 
visit to Chidambram and our appreciation of Dra- 
vidian art, he backed and bowed himself away to 
his bandy, with furtive glances lest we yet lay de- 
filing hand on him, and send him through all the 
details of his morning toilet again, as the least of 
ills. 

It was past one o'clock when the stately l5ulloeks 
again tinkled down the road to the bangla ; a peon 
with a broad sash and metal plate on his breast 
forming an escort of honor. There was no telling 
how much our occupancy defiled the magistrate's 
bandy while we progressed magnificently along a 
shaded road, between garnered fields and the lines of 
mud houses constituting villages— mud houses with 
mud floors, and mud porticos or shelves where the 
occupants loll by day and sleep at night. Men and 



WITH CHIDAMBRAM'S BRAHMANS 41 

women gave friendly looks, the women draped grace- 
fully in the single long sari, or winding-cloth, that, 
either red or white, is a foil to the dark skin and 
lends majesty and picturesqueness to the frowziest. 
Nearly every woman wore silver bracelets and ank- 
lets, armlets, finger-rings, ear-rings, nose-rings, and 
necklaces past counting, and one never knows what 
silver jewelry can effect, nor its artistic value, until 
he sees it against these sooty Tamil skins. 

The village of Chidambram clusters low before the 
soaring gopura of this oldest Shivaite temple of the 
south, and its seventy rest-houses shelter thousands 
of pilgrims at every December mela. Four of these 
great pagoda-like structures, each 160 feet in height, 
carved, painted, and gilded over, with a massive 
trisul, or trident ornament of Shiva, for capstone, 
admit to the quadrangular space of thirty-two acres 
occupied by the labyrinth of shrines and courts and 
halls around the great tank. The temple was built 
a thousand years ago by a pious raja, who had seen 
Shiva and Parvati dancing on the near-by sea-shore ; 
and the holy of holies is a golden shrine dedicated 
to the god of dancing. Another tradition says that 
a Kashmir prince of the fifth century brought three 
thousand Brahmans with him from the north and 
founded the temple. The greatest popularity was 
given the temple when "the golden-colored em- 
peror," a leper prince who had come south on a 
pilgrimage, was cured by bathing in the temple tank, 
and thousands emulate him every year. 

Repairs were being executed in many places, at 
tht» instance of a pious Hindu of Madras, and we 



42 WINTER INDIA 

picked our way through damp and dripping courts 
littered with freshly carved stones, crawled under 
scaffoldings and inclined planks, until we were well 
confused with the multiplicity of shrines, the gar- 
landed and greased images of Shiva, Parvati, Gane- 
sha, and the Bull, and always the figure of the danc- 
ing god with one knee acutely bent and the other foot 
flung with abandon. The courts were empty, the 
shrines deserted, no worshipers, no workmen, no 
priests, no crowd of idlers, as in the busy Madura 
and Srirangam temples. No signs of preparation 
for our visit were evident, and we sent the peon and 
Daniel and lay brethren in hot haste to give the 
alarm, lest the function be delayed past sunset. A 
few languid villagers stole in and stared, the longi- 
tudinal sect-mark of Vishnu on the forehead and the 
loosely drawn dhotee drapery around their shoulders 
giving them a strong resemblance to our red Indians 
of the prairies in war-paint and reservation blankets. 
Then more Avaiting succeeded, more messengers were 
despatched with more vehement advices, and Daniel, 
with the air of great cares pressing on him, paced 
the arcades meditating, speaking now and then with 
magnificent gestures, like a real raja. "My birthly 
is Christian," he had informed us in the first sanctu- 
ary of heathendom, that we might feel free to com- 
ment and question at will. 

A band of Brahmans in fresh war-paint finally 
arrived, and their fierce hawk-like gaze, their eager, 
excited, hurried air, might have given one qualms of 
alarm at our isolation in this labyrinthine fortress 
of a temple, remote from any European settlement, 



WITH CHIDAMBRAM'S BRAHMANS 45 

and miles from a white official or any pale-face. But 
Daniel reassured one by his calm magnificence, his 
grandiloquent phrases and evident pride in the 
amazing spectacle which he, as grand impresario, 
was about to present. Three hundred of these high- 
est-caste Dikshatar Brahmans, or priestly ones, de- 
scended from a first Cholukyan king, they say, live 
with their families within the temple inclosure. All 
are rich, enjoying inherited wealth and the great 
income which this popular temple derives from its 
votaries and pilgrims. There were fine, intelligent 
faces among them, and, barring the disfigurement 
of the painted sect-mark on the forehead, one could 
easily appreciate how much finer is the type and the 
cast of countenance of these long-descended aris- 
tocrats than the common Hindu face seen in bazaars 
and street crowds. All had fine, straight noses, level 
brows, and well-formed heads, the hair shaved all 
around the edges as though for a Chinese queue, and 
then drawn and knotted at the side behind the 
left ear, precisely as small children in north China 
twist their locks. All wore the white dhotee, twisted 
as a skirt around the body, left nude to the waist, 
save as one and another chose to fling the end of the 
long cloth over the head and shoulders as protec- 
tion from the alternating sun and rain. The sacred 
white cord over one shoulder and the carved Brah- 
man bead on a thread around the neck were the only 
other bits of apparel worn, although each one car- 
ried, in a twist of the girdle, a silver or brass box 
filled with the ashes of sandalwood or the dung of 
the sacred cow, with which to paint the caste- and 



46 WINTER INDIA 

sect-marks on their brows. Generations of superior 
folk, carefully nurtured, highly educated and cul- 
tivated in Brahman lore, have produced these splen- 
did specimens of their race, these fine intellectual 
faces and athletic bodies overlaid Avith dark-brown 
skin of a grain and patina finer than any inani- 
mate bronze — aristocrats of thirty centuries' direct 
descent. 

They looked at us, their prey, with eager interest, 
and with shouts appropriate to those about to offer 
living sacrifice to the gods; with whoops and hur- 
rahs this band of Brahmans conducted us to the 
main shrine and struck the gong to announce our 
presence to the god— an ugly, greasy, black little 
image, hidden somewhere out of sight in an inner- 
most sanctuary. We saw only an open- fronted 
chapel, whose floor was three or four feet above the 
level of the court-yard ; and as we advanced to it 
the priests brought gold plates heaped wath garlands 
of strung flowers, which they flung around our necks. 
The gold plate was extended for our ofl^erings, and 
at sight of the rupees of propitiation the Brahmans 
pushed, pointed, gesticulated, and shouted to one 
another. Only the Arabs of the Nile, or the boat- 
women of Canton, could raise sucli din and hulla- 
baloo, produce such waves and volumes of harsh, 
ear-splitting sounds. It seemed as if they were about 
to tear us to pieces and were quarreling about the 
lead, but it was only intense interest, pleased excite- 
ment, and glee at the prospect of another gala day 
for (^hidambram, with a flne lot of rupees to be 
divided afterward among the charter members of the 



WITH CHIDAMBRAM'S BRAHMANS 47 

close corporation. They shouted, screamed, pushed, 
and all but defiled themselves by touching us, in 
order to point out things to us and attract attention. 
A half-dozen tried to be leaders of the expedition, 
to establish a special protectorate over us, each lead- 
ing a separate way, the magistrate's peon making 
appealing dumb show for us to follow him in an- 
other direction, while Daniel, disentangling himself 
from the Brahman mob, made deprecatory gestures 
to them, bowed low to us, swept his hand obsequiously 
to guide us in a still different quarter, and said in 
mild, honeyed tones: "This way, your ladyships, 
this way." His suavity won, and all garlanded, as 
if ready for slaughter, and preceded by the band of 
temple musicians, we were led on and on, from shrine 
to shrine, the hawk-eyed Brahmans shouting wild 
acclaims, just as in a triumphant progress on the 
stage. It was all well-mounted grand opera, a deaf- 
ening Wagnerian representation ; and when we stood 
with the great chorus grouped before one gilded 
shrine with a golden roof and a golden flag-staff — 
a mainmast plated with hammered gold — it was a 
fine scene for the curtain to have fallen on. They led 
us to a store-room full of silver palanquins, chariots 
and platforms, silver bulls, elephants, goats, and pea- 
cocks, and explained how these and the sacred images 
are drawn in procession through Chidambram streets 
and courts on the great days of the heathen year. 
There the temple musicians fought and won chance 
for fullest action ; and drum, trumpets, and castanets 
raised such echoing din in the holy inelosure that we 
were literally distracted when, having ''visited the 



48 WINTER INDIA 

architectures, "we were conducted to the treasury and 
given chairs around a long, low table covered with a 
greasy red-silk cover. Deafened by the thump and 
blast of instruments and the vent of sacerdotal lungs, 
and overpowered by the weight and suffocating odors 
of the garlands of jasmine, tuberoses, marigolds, 
and chrysanthemums around our necks, we let those 
twenty-pound weights of vegetable adornments slip 
on to the backs of the chairs, and had Daniel hint to 
the Brahmans that our presents to the temple would 
be greater if the noise were less. He explained deli- 
cately that we were from another country than that 
of the usual visitors to Chidambram ; that people in 
America were accustomed to speak in soft, low voices, 
and to keep very silent in their temples. What a 
Talleyrand was spoiled when that soul in its present 
incarnation habited the body of Trichinopoli 's great 
guide ! Daniel spoke, and the hush of midnight suc- 
ceeded for about ten seconds. Then the Brahmans 
whispered ; their buzz rose to audible speech, and our 
ear-drums were again violently beaten until the 
mercenary company was hushed by significant ges- 
tures from Daniel. The musicians fingered their 
instruments sadly, but Daniel was supreme, and 
when one strapping head Brahman fully caught the 
cue, he outdid Daniel in silencing the sacerdotal 
screamers for the rest of the afternoon. 

When the magistrate came, followed by temple 
peons bearing great boxes tied up in red silk, he 
brought with him his six-year-old daughter, Thun- 
gama, the "little golden lady," as her pet name was 



WITH CHIDAMBRAM'S BRAHMANS 49 

translated, a disdainful, arrogant mite, who snubbed 
us soundly, but gave such cool, supercilious glances 
of high-caste scorn from such deep, dark, liquid, 
mysterious eyes that we forgave her. She wore a 
little cotton skirt and jacket, and silver anklets ; and 
her hair, divided at the brow in two plaits that 
framed the face, held a semicircular rayed ornament 
of pearls. This star-eyed beauty did not want to 
be looked at nor addressed by us, and had a dread of 
being touched by pale strangers with uncovered 
faces and no caste-marks, stamps, or guarantees of 
position on their broAvs. This imperious mite ruled 
her father royally, received the respectful homage 
of the sleek old Brahmans, and was petted and 
passed from papa to priest and peon as suited her 
whims. There was the finest ethnological exhibit 
around that treasury table, — the magistrate, his 
daughter, and ourselves in front, and the Brahmans 
ranged in triple circle of fine, spirited faces above 
splendid shoulders, a prosperous-looking, sleek, and 
well-groomed board of temple aldermen, directors of 
that close corporation of Chidambram, living for 
so many generations on the fat of the land and the 
offerings of pilgrims, and inheriting the intellectual 
monopoly of ages. Each one had been invested in 
his youth with the sacred Avhite cord, had served his 
time of probation, had married and raised a family, 
and now was enjoying his magnificent prime before 
disappearing from Chidambram and following the 
strict Brahman routine of the end of life. It seemed 
amazing that there should be a community where 



50 WINTER INDIA 

the physical average was so high; and commenting 
on the many fine, noble, and dignified countenances 
and the statuesque shoulders, Daniel explained it 
all: ''Yes, the Brahmans are always splendid of 
appearance like these. It is the hereditary lieirness 
of their high descent." 




CHAPTER IV 

FOR THE HONOR AND GLORY OF SHIVA 

HE temple jewels are kept in iron- 
bound chests in a room fastened by 
many locks. The magistrate, the high 
priest, and a half-dozen other Brah- 
mans of different castes each holds a 
key, and all must be present to unlock the room. 
Count and record are kept of each article ; many of 
the jewels are historic and famous, and all are so 
well knoA\Ti to the community that the loss of even 
one stone would be as quickly noted on display days 
as the disappearance of an idol itself. When the 
jewels are thus shown, it is customary for visitors 
to leave from ten to twenty rupees for cleansing 
them pure from outcast touch. The rupee is a 
great leveler, and has purifying effect unaided ; 
for nothing could be dingier, greasier, more in need 
of alcohol, jeweler's sawdust, and a touch of chamois 
than these jewels of Chidambram, unless it were 
the jewels at Srirangam or the famously dirty sap- 
phires at IMadura. 

There was earnest effort and long parley over a 
first iron-bound chest that would not open. All the 
head Brahmans shouted and struggled with the ob- 
durate padlock until the key broke. An agile brother 

51 



52 WINTER INDIA 

whipped out a knife and tried to pick the lock, with 
an assurance that bespoke familiarity with such pro- 
cesses, but the rusty clamp would not yield. A longer 
and a louder clamor, and then a lusty Brahman 
seized one of the big keys on the table, a bar of iron 
as solid as the key of the Bastille, and began ham- 
mering the clasp, laying on blacksmith's blows with 
a will. The padlock flew off, the heavy lid creaked 
back, and with deafening yells the riches of Chidam- 
bram came in view. 

They drew out all the jeweled ornaments, the 
crowns, caps, hand- and arm-coverings, necklaces, 
ear-rings, nose-rings, bracelets, anklets, and staffs 
given to the temple's precious idols for centuries 
back, laid them on the table, and passed them to us 
to handle and defile at will. The Brahmans shouted, 
talked, oh'd and ah'd, stretched hands over our 
shoulders to call attention to some special beauty or 
marvel, and even snatched them from our hands. 
Their eyes shone and their faces glowed with pride 
and joy in these treasures, their delight at seeing 
them childlike in its expression. They all told at 
once how the ruby bracelets were given the goddess 
by the rani, wife of the Raja of Tanjore, in fulfil- 
ment of a vow ; and how, when the pious rani learned 
that the goddess had no ear-bosses, she despoiled her 
own jewel-boxes of her most magnificent ones. Then 
they told of Patcheapper Mudalier, the rich man of 
Madras, who had given the goddess pairs of gold 
serpents scaled over with great jewels; and, at the 
sale of the effects of the late Raja of Tanjore in 
1891, had bought and presented the temple with a 



FOR THE HONOR AND GLORY OF SHIVA 53 

huge Phrygian cap, or war-bonnet, covered with 
hundreds of cabochon rubies and table-cut diamonds, 
along with a great breastplate over six inches 
square, set solidly with large flat rubies— rubies of 
the most perfect tint, and set double, ruby on top 
of ruby, as was the old Hindu custom, until the 
depth and richness of color surpass anything to be 
otherwise obtained. Patcheapper had not only given 
modern jewels, but he had had the old gems reset, 
adding lost stones to historic settings, and putting 
the accumulation of loose stones into telling form. 

Two enormous water-bottles of solid gold were 
lifted out— ''for bringing the sacred water to wash 
the goddess," said Daniel. "Six thousand rupees! 
Six thousand rupees ! ' ' yelled the Brahmans, anxious 
to impress us with the exceeding value of these toilet 
articles. A two-foot-long pendant of linked medal- 
lions set with rubies and diamonds, worn hanging 
from the back of the goddess's crown, was vouched 
for as valued at twenty-five thousand rupees, and a 
huge crested headpiece glowing with gems was 
quoted at thirty thousand rupees ; and then, through 
Daniel, the Brahmans were besought kindly to omit 
price-marks and quarreling over and outbidding one 
another in values, since we had not come to buy nor 
to appraise the temple jewels, and had no interest in 
their money value. 

That shabby table was spread over with more 
precious things than one can remember— gold 
crowns, crests, tiaras, plumes, bosses for the ears, 
ornaments for the hair and the forehead, nose-rings, 
necklaces, armlets, bracelets, zones, girdles, anklets, 



54 WINTER INDIA 

and every possible article of Hindu jewelry worn 
for these two thousand years— forms and designs 
but little changed in two thousand years; the same 
ancient, archaic Swami or Dravidian style of orna- 
ments having been worn centuries before Chidam- 
bram's building, according to the sculptured records 
of the Buddhist monuments. Every piece was 
crusted over, inlaid with rubies and diamonds, sap- 
phires, emeralds, and pearls; with emeralds as big 
as bullets— great drops of green dew ; with sapphires 
the size of filberts and walnuts, sunk in pure, dull 
yellow gold as soft as wax. There were rubies, 
rubies, rubies— rubies everywhere— thick as pebbles 
on a beach,— and all of them smoothly rounded 
drops, blobs, or uneven lumps of warm and splendid 
color that went to the heart. A Western lapidary 
or jeweler would scoff at and perhaps scorn these 
masses of roughly cut cabochon gems, whose flaws 
and feathers and cloudings make them of little com- 
mercial but of such great artistic value. Crystalline 
perfection was not the first test which the old Hindu 
jewelers applied to their gems. With an eye first 
to color effects and rich combinations of color, all 
the flawed stones, the splinters and scales and pin- 
points of color, had their value to them, and with 
them they achieved results of such richness, such 
gorgeousness and splendor, that our mechanically 
perfect, geometrically exact, many-faceted, flashing 
gems of Western jewelry seem cold, characterless, 
expressionless beside these living gems of the East. 
We were fairly dizzy with the glow and glitter and 
gorgeousness of the display, the feast of gems and 



FOR THE HONOR AND GLORY OF SHIVA 55 

flow of jewels, the barbaric splendors literally heaped 
upon Oriental magnificence within touch before us. 
One hardly knows the ruby, its glorious tones, its 
true uses and possibilities, until he has had some 
such feast of rubies in an Indian temple, and the 
taste there acquired is little satisfied afterward with 
the glassy, regular polyhedrons of the West. That 
deep, clear, warm red ruby, the concentration of all 
heat and gorgeous light, the glowing, burning stone 
of the tropics, is India's own, its most typical, trop- 
ical gem. It became hard to believe, though, that 
rubies were rare and precious when, after all seen 
elsewhere, Chidambram's Brahmans laid plates and 
sheets of rubies— dozens, hundreds, thousands of 
them— before us. One could almost think they came 
like buttons on a haberdasher's card, and that one 
bought them by the gross or great gross as required, 
or by dry measure perhaps— by heaped-up pints 
and overflowing quarts. 

For nearly two hours we handled the collars and 
crowns and ornaments passed out to us, until we 
were well surfeited with splendors, until pear- 
shaped pearls in rains and fringes could excite no 
more surprise, until big tallow-drop emeralds were 
the common thing, and star sapphires had to be of 
thumb 's-end size to command any praise. Ropes of 
necklaces made of overlapping gold pieces clanged in 
dead weight on the table; the famous parrot cut 
from a single emerald was produced ^^^th cheers, 
and broad manacle-bracelets, set with ancient stones 
recut in European facetings, closed the list. The 
lid of the last chest was slammed down, the Brah- 



56 WINTER INDIA 

mans voiced their pent-up joy, and we sank back in 
our chairs, well exhausted with the strain of long- 
continued attention to such dazzling surprises. More 
flower garlands were dropped on our shoulders and 
enormous bouquets were presented us. Trays of 
fruit and cake and sugar things were offered, which 
we formally praised, accepted, and touched accord- 
ing to custom ; and, by the same sign and custom, 
we never saw the defiled stuff again. 

The musicians struck up a deafening paean, the 
crowd in the courtyard made way, and we were borne 
triumphantly on for the great Nautch dance in the 
choltry, or Hall of a Thousand Columns. That 
noblest Brahman of them all, who had maintained a 
particular protectorate over us in the jewel-room 
and so summarily checked the other Brahmans when 
they extolled the jewels too full-lunged, all but gave 
his arm as he escorted us across the court, waving 
the others aside or pushing them with force when 
necessary. This arch-heathen, Pattu Thacheadar, 
the Superb, highest-caste Dikshatar Brahman of the 
white cord and the carved bead, was altogether 
the finest specimen Chidambram afforded, and 
sculptor or painter would equally delight in him as 
model. This big Brahman beau-ed us gallantly 
across the courts, up into the lofty pillared hall, and 
seated us in the waiting arm-chairs with a grace and 
address that would have become a leader of cotillions 
—barefooted, with only a red-bordered sheet for his 
full-dress uniform of social ceremony ! 

The magistrate, in his scholarly, gold-bowed 
spectacles, and the disdainful little goddess, Thun- 




l-Alir THAClllCADAK. 



FOR THE HONOR AND GLORY OF SHIVA 59 

gama, throned upon the peons' shoulders, were with 
US; and the august company of Brahmans seated 
themselves in a half-circle upon the stone floor, 
Pattu, the Superb, towering head and shoulders in 
the front row of the highest-caste marks. There was 
a May-pole in the middle of the vaulted hall, hung 
over with long streamers. 

Six barefooted, neat-looking colored girls in 
starched muslin dress skirts and velvet jackets of 
antiquated cut and no fit whatever, stepped forward 
and, in methodical march and countermarch to a 
nasal chorus, braided the May-pole's ribbons down 
to their hands; in reverse order unbraided them, 
and stepped demurely back in line. We were breath- 
less with surprise. 

Was that the famous sacred temple dance ? Could 
six octoroons, matter-of-fact young " yaller gals," 
shuffling slowly around a May-pole, ever give rise to 
such visions of beauty and grace as only the name 
of the Nautch dance conjures up ? Oh, no ! It was 
surely coming next. There would be something 
graceful and bewitching, something in gorgeous na- 
tive costume, after this purposely tame and tedious 
cake-walk by colored church members in velveteen 
basques trimmed with cotton lace. 

The same wooden young persons marched out 
again in line. We cheered ourselves, noting then 
that they were almost Oriental from the collar up- 
ward—what with necklaces and ear-studs and ear- 
rings looped back to the decorated waterfall, the 
"bath bun" of hair at the back of their heads, and 
nose-rings whose lowest pearl trembled on their 



60 WINTER INDIA 

lips, the literal pearls of speech. "We questioned 
Daniel closely to know if these really were the 
picked dancers, the flower of Chidambram 's beauties ; 
if he had never seen them dance in voluminous, 
diaphanous, graceful native dress? 

"No, your ladyship. These are their richest 
clothings. You see the magnificent velvets of their 
costumes. They never wear the common sari now 
that they have tltese. It is always this splendid 
dress they wear for the dancing when I bring Euro- 
pean visitors." 

The dance went on, a tame and tedious cake-walk, 
purely callisthenic school-girl exercise to the end, 
save in one or two less shuffling measures where they 
made undeniable eyes at us, posed one finger against 
the cheek, and looked unutterable archness. ' ' Notice 
the postures, see the sentiments of the countenance," 
said Daniel, who was a connoisseur in such dances, 
and gifted with the second sight needed to make 
anything at all fascinating out of the languid 
measures. "It is praise of the goddess," said the 
old gentleman, rapturously, delighted with the 
spectacle. But such a dreary ballet! Such a mo- 
notonous walk-around to minor airs thumped and 
blown by the earnest temple musicians, and plaintive 
choruses wailed by the dancers themselves, would 
never fill a theater nor a side-show in the West, and 
the Midway Plaisance would have closed for lack 
of patronage had its Oriental dances been like this. 

The sun struggled through the clouds and sent 
shafts and ladders of gold down from the high win- 
dows, that, touching the white draperies of the seated 



FOR THE HONOR AND GLORY OF SHIVA 61 

Brahmans, illuminated them as if with lime-light. 
Pattu Thaeheadar was radiant and smiling, nodding 
his approval and delight, and enjoying the great 
day and his prominent part in it with all of a boy's 
vain glee. He hung upon and watched closely the 
evolutions of the dancers, and all the Brahmans 
buzzed approval when the six advanced and re- 
treated, rapping little sticks together in the measure 
of some very old dance to Shiva. That was the live- 
liest measure trod— very literally trod, with the flat 
of the bare foot— by these star-eyed serpents and en- 
chanters of the Coromandel coast. 

*'It is the most difficult to do this dance, you see. 
They are trained to it from little girls. Their limbs 
are very movable," said Daniel, aglow with delight. 

When the placid program came to an end, Daniel 
put on his spectacles, took his place by the May-pole, 
and, more like a head schoolmaster giving diplomas 
than like the grand almoner of royalty, presented 
a rupee to each girl. Each one advanced and re- 
ceived it with a bow, and each one then stepped on 
to us, stood rigid, and made the regulation military 
salute with one hand — a figure only a little more 
formal and automatic than the whole gay revel of 
the sacred dance had been, something very plainly 
learned from a British drill-sergeant's code. The 
musicians received their gratuities in the same formal 
manner, and the Brahmans, dancers, and orchestra 
trooped with us down the hall to the court surround- 
ing the temple tank, where the afternoon sun lighted 
a scene of splendor and picturesqueness. Despite 
the late and yellow light, I snapped the camera to 



62 WINTER INDIA 

right and left, on gilded gopuras, the mirror tank, 
and the staircase of the great hall where the dancers 
and Brahmans were grouped unconscious. Little 
Thungama and her adoring peon stood for me ; and 
then Pattu Thacheadar, special protector and per- 
sonal conductor, impresario, and grand manager of 
the Brahman troupe, was asked to take the steps, to 
pose magnificent, all flower-garlanded as he was. He 
assented with excited delight, the other Brahmans 
shouted their satisfaction, and with much chaff and 
back-talk to his Brahman brethren, this splendid 
creature spread out his flower necklaces and stood, 
facing the sun, breathing slowly and not winking 
for seconds after the button was pressed. 

The bullock-bandy carried us and our load of floral 
gifts home to the bangla, and after a quick dinner and 
long nap carried us on to the station, where Pattu, 
the Superb, was parading the platform in waiting. 
He had walked the eight miles to take leave of us, 
to present more flower garlands and a rare lemon 
brought from a grove some miles away on the Coro- 
mandel coast. He wore classic sandals, or shoes 
bound by rawhide thongs, and the end of his long 
white drapery was thrown up over his head and 
shoulders like an Arab burnoose. He swung a quaint, 
archaic lantern, and in the flashes of light from the 
station-rooms he was more paintable and operatic 
than at the temple. And this son of the Sun, de- 
scendant of ten thousand Brahmans, masher of most 
magnificent order, was posing for effect as unmis- 
takably as others of his kind pose in Western draw- 
ing-rooms—the handsome man and his little arts — 
the same transparency the world over. 



FOR THE HONOR AND GLORY OF SHIVA 63 

The station-master interpreted for him while we 
waited a whole midnight hour for the train. Pattu 
wanted to know when we would come to Chidam- 
bram again ; how far away was America ; how many 
days would it take us to get back there ; how much 
would it cost ; had we railways there ; or any tem- 
ples as splendid as Chidambram. 

"Then," said the station-master, "he has been 
telling me of the great festival at the temple to-day. 
He says there was a crowd there to see the dance, 
more than two hundred Brahmans, and he was the 
best-looking man there, and you took his picture to 
carry to America to show." 

Oh ! Pattu ! Pattu Thacheadar ! 




CHAPTER V 

MADRAS AND THE SEVEN PAGODAS 

E had expected to have another feast 
of jewels at Conjeveram, the Benares 
of southern India, but at Chingleput 
Junction the constable from that sa- 
cred city vfas waiting to tell us that 
we could not see the temple jewels, owung to a recent 
theft of three thousand rupees' worth of treasure 
and the arrest of the head high priest, who held one of 
the five keys. ' ' I have just brought forty Brahmans 
up with me as witnesses. There has been a big quar- 
rel on among the high-caste families, one trying 
to run the other out; but as all the temple offices, 
even the keepers of the oil, are hereditary, only civil 
suits and criminal imprisonment ever oust them. 
Each steals a little from the god himself, but does 
not want any one else to do so. ' ' 

AVhen we arrived at the great railway station of 
Madras, the largest and oldest city in southern India, 
with a population of half a million, there were no 
European vehicles to be had— only bullock-carts and 
the bandbox jutkas, or native pony-cabs. "There 
is a convention of ^riieosophists on now, ' ' said the sta- 
tion-master in explanation, but he could not tell what 
people with astral bodies wanted with material cabs. 

64 



MADRAS AND THE SEVEN PAGODAS 65 

The jutka was such torture and indignity that we 
walked the last block to the hotel in a great garden, 
where a hen-brained lot of "don't-know" servants 
held the summer-house, which served as hotel office. 

There were no manager, no rooms, no memoran- 
dum of our telegrams, no anything at this only hotel. 
There was no other place to go; no steamer leaving 
for five days. The butler led us to a neglected row 
of rooms that we might prepare for tiffin and await 
the return of the manager. Ants ran riot over the 
beds and the torn matting on the dirty cement 
floor; the ragged, brown mosquito-netting suggested 
horrors in the darkness ; and the bath-water of days 
ago stood iridescent in the tubs. We retreated to 
the stone porch and then to the dining-room, where 
there was painted as a decorative frieze: "Recom- 
mend us. Recommend us. The best hotel in India. " 
There was a veteran table cloth, but a charming floral 
decoration, and we were served a pallid and taste- 
less soup, potato croquettes, grilled bones, and "corn- 
flower cream," i.e., a watery blanc-mange. Mean- 
while, our robust British table neighbors— all resi- 
dent Anglo-Indians, with a proper scorn for tourists 
—ate broiled birds, dressed the most inviting tomato- 
salads, and closed their feast with red bananas and 
cheese. " Oh ! that belongs gentlemans. Gentlemans 
self buy bazaar," hissed the butler, when we had 
sternly pointed to and ordered birds and salad and 
bananas. 

Then the manager came and bowed us into a car- 
riage and off to a branch house, "a residential 
hotel," where he said he had most spacious rooms 



66 WINTEK INDIA 

reserved. Remembering the bath-tubs, the grilled 
bones, and the legend on the dining-room walls of 
the parent establishment, we had small expectation 
of anything sybaritic at the offshoot hostelry. Yet 
we were rewarded with a great mansion, in a garden 
that was almost a park ; the house was clean and ad- 
mirably kept by a black, black butler, twin to the 
end-man of the old minstrel shows. 

We drove miles and miles through tree-lined streets 
to the water-front of the city to find the post, tele- 
graph, and steamship offices and the bank. All Ma- 
dras and all southern India, planters from Banga- 
lur and the Nilgiri Hills, and officials from every- 
where, were doing their Christmas shopping those 
days, the races were on, and the streets and bazaars 
were full of life and animation. We drove into 
beautiful grounds and around under a great portico 
of a mansion to find the chemist 's shop ; into another 
splendid place to find, not the lord chief justice, but 
the grocer; and this extravagance of space makes 
Madras a city of frightfully magnificent distances. 

The burnt-cork butler welcomed us home to our 
residential hotel, himself brought the dainty tea-tray 
to the marble-floored portico, and stood by with 
ear-to-ear smiles, watching us enjoy his crisp toast 
and fresh seed-cakes. We began to have a Christmas 
feeling of peace and good will to all Madras. The 
loggia was so attractive that we ordered dinner to 
be served there, rather than dress and dine with any 
more self-supplying guests, as at that "best hotel in 
India. ' ' The butler assented joyfully, a whole min- 
strel troupe ran in with bouquets, fruit pyramids, 



MADRAS AND THE SEVEN PAGODAS 60 

candle-bells, and a British profusion of electroplated 
furnishings. The butler, three assistants, David and 
Daniel, a pankha boy, and whispering coolies un- 
counted beyond the latticed door, combined to serve 
a good dinner to perfection. We wondered how the 
residential guests were faring with so much of the 
headquarters staff on duty in our apartment, and 
the next day learned that we were the only guests 
in the new hotel ; that the invisible manager was a 
myth, and the black butler the greatest Pooh Bah 
off the stage. 

Madras residents had, long in advance, engaged all 
the "budgery-boats" on the Buckingham Canal for 
Christmas week; and instead of one of those com- 
fortable house-boats, where civilized existence con- 
tinues its regular routine, we had to content our- 
selves with a coal-barge— a "spacious and com- 
modious fourteen-passenger-boat, " Samuel Daniel 
called it— for the visit to the Seven Pagodas, the 
ruins of IMahabalipur. Our Turveydrop assured us 
that all tourists went in such craft; that Bishop 
Phillips Brooks had traveled that way to see this one 
of the seven great wonders of the Indian world ; and 
as he talked on, we almost forgot the ignominious 
cargo-lighter. 

The guide-book said to pay seven rupees for such 
a boat to go to the Seven Pagodas; the butler said 
fifty rupees ; Daniel and David stoutly maintained 
fifteen rupees; and we finally gave ten rupees. Coal- 
barge No. 1350 was some twenty feet long, with a 
mat roof, side awnings, and a single mast ; and when 
swept, scrubbed, and drenched under our eyes, we 



70 WINTER INDIA 

embarked with mattresses, chairs, a few pots and 
pans and provisions from the hotel, and a great sup- 
ply of our own stores to augment the tiffin-basket. 
Instead of driving to Marmalong or Guindy Bridge, 
and trusting to meet the dilatory boatmen there, we 
embarked at Governor's Basin, and for reward 
found the Buckingham Canal drag a stagnant, sew- 
ery way past Madras commons and dead walls, past 
hedges and kitchen-gardens, for six miles to Guindy 
Bridge, where the open country began. We posted 
a letter in the mail-box at the bridge, ordering a 
carriage to be waiting there at five o 'clock the second 
morning, and then were towed and poled at a com- 
fortable gait southward through the long, lazy after- 
noon, curtained from the western sun, with a fresh 
little breeze from the sea pleasantly stirring the air. 
It was a fiat, level country, lying close to the 
Coromandel coast. Once the canal debouched into 
a great lagoon, and the trackers plashed like a file 
of storks across a few miles of shallow water, and 
often we heard the long boom of the breakers. Vil- 
lages nestled under palm and banian groves; vil- 
lagers trod the high embankment paths like so many 
white storks or red flamingos ; and market, cargo, 
and fire-wood boats slipped silently by. We walked 
past a series of locks in the late afternoon, and when 
the great triangular sail dropped we took our chairs 
to the roof and glided down such a sunset stretch as 
met one's ideal of the tropics. Two Tamil coolies, tan- 
dem, towed us ; a tall boatman poled ; and Daniel 's 
brilliant red turban at the fore gave the high key- 
note to the sunset color scheme, while his voice rose 



MADRAS AND THE SEVEN PAGODAS 71 

in sonorous passages descriptive of his country and 
his people. Even the untutored blacks of the crew 
crept close to hear the foreign language roll from 
his tongue in such unctuous streams. He told of the 
temple jewels we had not seen ; of the stores of the 
finest old Indian jewels which the Nautch girls every- 
where own, since the women of the great families 
are continually robbed by degenerate sons, who have 
learned only more forms of vice and extravagance 
with Western education. Then of the Brahmans and 
their *' hereditary heirness " he said with a sneer: 
' ' Those Brahman priests say they are the gods visible 
in the world. Once they may have taught truths, 
but now they only humbug the poor people." Bud- 
dhism as it flourishes in Ceylon? "More humbug," 
he averred. 

The palm-trees grew darker than violet against 
the rosy west, until they were black skeletons against 
a steely blue, star-spangled firmament, where Jupiter 
shone like a small moon and Orion 's three great belt- 
jewels streamed golden tracks across the lagoon. We 
could hear the boom of the Coromandel surf; dark 
palm groves stopped the gentle sea breeze; the sail, 
spread to catch any breath, dragged and flapped 
against the mast, then filled with the soft sea air 
when the star-dotted horizon was visible again, and 
drew canal-boat No. 1350 along through the en- 
chanted night. 

In the middle of the darkness came the clatter of 
the falling sail and an angry colloquy by the bank- 
side, David and Daniel together venting their strong- 
est language at invisible retorters. 



72 WINTER INDIA 

"It is the twenty-mile lock," said David, shaking 
with wrath. "The manager has gone to bed and 
will not open the lock again until morning, and we 
shall not get to Seven Pagodas before ten o'clock. 
They will always do it for the gentries, but they do 
not believe when poor native says he has gentries 
waiting in a boat." With one lantern and an escort 
of innumerable shadows in ghostly clothes, we went 
and pounded on the lock-keeper 's door, and besought 
him as the most courteous of a whole race of kindly 
disposed people to consider a tourist's precious time 
and consuming zeal for rock-sculpture, and open his 
locks and let us wing and track our way to Mahabali- 
pur, "Certingly, certingly. Right away, mem- 
sahib," and the lock-keeper came out with his keys, 
our crew worked the gates and levers, and while we 
walked and talked with our benefactor of the tropic 
night, the waters swirled in and lifted the boat to 
the next level. 

They drove a stake in the soft sand and made fast 
at three in the morning, and in the gray-blue dawn 
we woke to find ourselves and three budgery-boats 
lying at the edge of a great sandy flat, beyond which 
a white house and some palm-trees promised govern- 
ment cheer. We went over to the dak bangla and 
demanded baths, breakfasts, and chair-bearers at 
once. The first two demands were complied with; 
but at six o'clock it was " wait a little," as it had 
been at five-thirty, and, realizing that the sooner we 
began the five-mile walk in the sun and sand the 
better were our chances of surviving and accomplish- 
ing it all before noon, we set forth in the cool of the 



MADRAS AND THE SEVEN PAGODAS 73 

December morning. Slowly, quite slowly, we strolled 
out past great lily-ponds, through sandy commons 
and underbrush, for a mile and a half to the sculp- 
tured raths of Mahabalipur, the boulder-temples of 
the once great city of Bali. 

When the pious ones of that place, whether in the 
sixth century or still earlier, wished to build a temple 
they took a boulder of the desired size, carved it out- 
wardly until it looked as if built by masons' hands, 
block by block and course by course, and then hol- 
lowed the interior into chambers, even one and two 
stories of pillared and vaulted chambers. Five such 
monolithic raths, or temples, remain in this lonely 
strand, with guardian lions, elephants, and bulls 
hewn from lesser boulders before them. Two of the 
raths are mere sentry-box shrines, or image-cells, 
eleven feet square and twenty feet high, carved with 
a wealth of exterior and interior ornament. The 
largest rath is the Split Temple, forty-two feet in 
length, with an impressive interior hall. All the 
raths stand empty and deserted, as if touched by 
the enchanter's wand, miraculously turned to stone. 
There was no moving thing, no sound but the distant 
moan of the surf and the rustling clash of palm- 
branches. The seven-o'clock sun already burned the 
sands and was reflected scorchingly from the rock 
masses, whose burned, yellow-brown tones seemed the 
very expression of heat. 

Very slowly we walked for a mile through a 
plantation of young fir-trees, proof that the gov- 
ernment of India considers the welfare of this re- 
gion, whose long-denuded sands are being reforested 



74 WINTER INDIA 

for both economic and climatic reasons. We came 
out on the hard sand beach where the ocean lapped 
in soft, creamy wavelets, and the terrible Coromandel 
surges we had heard and read of only splashed 
gently on the steps of a quaint little pyramidal tem- 
ple carved, course upon course, to its final bell-cap. 
Posts and columns stand far out in the water, and a 
line of breakers, a mile still further out, mark where 
legend says other pagodas stand intact beneath the 
waves. Southey has imaged it in "The Curse of 
Kehama," but prosaic surveyors say that there is 
only a reef of needle-rocks below the surface. That 
lonely little temple at the edge of the loud-sounding 
sea, although a common thing of masons' construc- 
tion, is most impressive of all the seven temples. Its 
stone facade is rounded with sand-blast, spray, and 
surge, its walls are broken, its portico and platform 
half wrecked by the fury of past storms, and its 
cool, wet chambers hold Vishnu's images in his dif- 
ferent incarnations, — Buddha, Vishnu's ninth ava- 
tar, occupying a last cool grotto. 

The sun was burning with full strength then, and 
we sought the mud and thatch Tamil village un- 
der a cluster of palm-trees. The villagers swarmed 
out, and an inlcy, sooty flock of cherubs ran beside 
us to another boulder-temple, where we sat in the 
shade and regarded a huge stone hollowed like a 
churn or bowl, where "the gopis made butter for 
Krishna in the forest" — "But the cat ran away with 
the butter," said Daniel, regretfully. Krishna, the 
dancing god of Hindu mythology, very nearly cor- 
responds to the Greek Apollo or Hercules, and the 
gopis parallel the naiads and muses. 



MADRAS AND THE SEVEN PAGODAS 75 

The palm-tree was our Christmas-tree that day, 
and the villagers, having already stripped it of gifts, 
pierced the green coeoanuts and gave us reviving 
dMnks. The Tamil cup ids folded palm-leaves into 
drinking-cups and drank such portions as their el- 
ders gave them. It was a pretty, primitive scene, 
purely and ideally Indian, when around the rock 
came a British tourist in a pith helmet, a lady 
in a helmet, too, with streaming green veil ends. 
They looked at the churn, they looked at the temple 
on which we sat, but they saw us no more than they 
would see canal-boat No. 1350 at anchor beside their 
splendid budgery-boat. We opened more coeoanuts 
and drank to the merry day, to the Superior Person, 
to the Pharisee wherever he may find himself. 
" Peace on earth— good will to men." Blessed is 
the Christmas spirit and the Briton's sense of de- 
corum. Alas, that we had no letters of introduction 
with us ! 

Slowly we walked up over a great scarped rock— 
and it was like walking across a hot stove — and 
descended steps in its front to see the carving known 
as Arjuna's Penance— a rock- front, thirty-seven feet 
high and ninety feet long, carved all over with life- 
sized figures and animals in high relief, a whole 
picture-book of earliest mythology. The wicked cat 
who stole the gopi's lump of butter was triumph- 
antly pointed out, standing on its hind legs in pen- 
ance, while mice ran about its feet. " Really," said 
Daniel, " he is waiting for the sea to dry that he 
may eat all the fish in it." This gigantic bas-relief 
sculpture, beside whioli Thorvaldsen's lion at Lu- 



76 WINTER INDIA 

cerne is a toy, is from an earlier time than the mono- 
lithic raths by the sea, and marks the dateless era of 
serpent-worship. But the sunny rock-front radiated 
heat like a bonfire, and there was no wish to stand 
and study it. 

It was then past nine o'clock, the sun was scorch- 
ing high overhead, and nothing Daniel could say 
about the " numberl esses of gods and goddesses," 
or lesser cave-temples, could stir us. Not "Krishna 
and the gopis, his sweethearts in paradise," not 
Ganesha, all black, greasy, and garlanded in his own 
rock-cut temple, could attract us longer— all interest 
in art, archaeology'-, and architecture scorched and 
scotched for the day. For a half-mile we had made 
Daniel give guarantees of importance before we 
would look within a cave or take one extra step in 
that terrible scorch and sun-glare of a midwinter 
morning. 

The sands were blinding and our boats quivered 
in heat-waves as we went toward them at noon ; but 
while the coolies splashed along over tow-paths sub- 
merged by the tide, we were cooled by a gentle head- 
wind all the afternoon. The water was a-splash with 
bits of silver, and one of the trackers stopped, 
wrestled with something under his foot, and threw 
a large fish into the boat. At sunset we could see a 
faint line of surf beyond the sand wastes, and the 
beat of the sea was heard through hours of darkness 
succeeding the most beautiful, moist pink sunset. 

When the candles were lighted a great, two-inch 
brown cockroach ran up the side of the boat, stood up- 
side down on the mat ceiling, and waved his feelers. 



MADRAS AND THE SEVEN PAGODAS 79 

Others followed the beckoning leader until the place 
was swarming, and we retreated to the chairs at 
the stern, where, with breakneck naps, we spent the 
night, shuddering to think of the preceding night, 
when, preferring starlight to candles, we had gone 
to bed in the dark. 

The sky was full of big, yellow, pulsing stars, but 
the Southern Cross was not visible. Orion gradu- 
ally changed its angle and tilted itself almost in re- 
verse; and Orion was a great offense to me in those 
low latitudes. As if one went to latitude 0° and to 
6° N. and 13° N. to see one's most familiar northern 
constellation ! 

"Mehlady! Meh lady ! The Holy Cross is here 
in the sky now," said faithful David at four o'clock, 
and he crossed himself as became a good Romanist, 
There, straightaway in our wake to southward, were 
two lopsided crosses, or diamonds, each outlined by 
four great, glowing yellow stars where the narrow 
cut of the Buckingham Canal exactly underlay and 
reflected the great southern constellation, the filmy 
trails of Magellan's clouds floating near. 




CHAPTER VI 

MADRAS AND CALCUTTA 

IHERE is a splendid show of old armor 
and weapons in the Madras Museum, 
but those trophies of metal-work are 
not unique like the relies and frag- 
ments from the great Buddhist shrines 
of the south. Room after room is filled with bas- 
reliefs and images dating from the noblest period 
of Greco-Buddhist art, the great tope of Amraoti 
having been, like the temple of Boro Boedor in Java, 
a picture-Bible of Buddhism. The exquisite marble 
bas-reliefs, portraying events in the life of Buddha 
and scenes of religious ceremony, and the bands of 
ornament give but a starting-point for the imagina- 
tion to reconstruct the shrines of twelve and fifteen 
centuries ago. There are treasured relics dating cen- 
turies before the Christian era, and one bit of bone 
in a berjd cylinder, found in the excavations at the 
Bhattiprolu mound, is an undoubted fragment of 
the body of Gautama Buddha. Our guides were not 
eloquent over these Buddhist relics, knowing more 
about the jeweled and damascened swords, goads, 
spears, and daggers of the late Raja of Tanjore, 
whose treasures had lately come to the "wonder- 

80 



MADRAS AND CALCUTTA 81 

house," as the natives term a museum. A wonder- 
guide had attached himself to us as we made tlie 
rounds, greatly to the annoyance of Samuel Daniel, 
whose severest manner could not rout him. At the 
door eacli handed us an umbrella, and as we went 
down the steps Daniel thrust away the self-appointed 
guide and began: "Your ladyships"; but the rival 
slipped past, opened the carriage door, and, bowing, 
said: "Your highnesses." The constant "lady- 
ships ' ' that we everywhere received declared how the 
wily Hindu sees and plays upon the weaknesses of 
the alien race he knows best, and the "highnesses" 
was climax of the play upon snobbery. 

One never could have greater need for an astral 
body than in Madras, where we drove and drove to 
get to any place — through miles of banian tunnels 
and green-vaulted avenues, along the Marina road 
by the sea, and through the Adyar suburb, where 
Theosophists still congregate, despite the cruel ex- 
posure of the whole Blavatsky-Mahatma-Yogi frauds 
in that very quarter years ago. 

Life is lived on narrow margins in India. One 
cannot get "something for nothing" in Madras; and 
every purchase sent to the hotel came with a foot- 
note to the bill: "Coolie not paid." When Samuel 
Daniel had left for his home, the next post brought 
us a card: "Your ladyships: I forgetfully leave 
my carpet and blanket with David's bed at Guindy 
Bridge. Please David have send to, as railway par- 
cel, to station-master at Trichinopoli." We ordered 
the room butler to send a responsible person to the 
station and— but before I could finish mv remarks 



62 WINTER INDIA 

and tell how to prepay the parcel, his grins changed 
and he began to storm angrily: "Who pays that 
coolie? "Who pays that railway? I am poor man. 
Suppose I never see Daniel again? Suppose I die, 
and Daniel does n't come? What becomes of my 
family then? You pay the coolie. You pay the 
coolie. God will bless you. God will bless the good 
lady who helps the poor. Think of my family ! Oh, 
think of my family ! You pay the coolie ! You pay 
the coolie ! God will bless you !" he implored, work- 
ing himself into a very frenzy. There was a rush 
and rustle of starched clothing and the frenzy sud- 
denly ended as David cuffed him out of the room 
with word that the memsahib had expected to pay the 
coolie anyhow. 

The butler presented a bill that was many rupees 
too much. "I must see the manager about this," I 
said, rising to leave the room. ' ' Oh, your ladyship ! 
Your ladyship ! Write a chit ! Write only a little 
chit— a little chit to the manager, and he will under- 
stand and make it right," implored the end-man. 
"But I must see him," I said. A torrent of agitated 
pleas poured from the minstrel. "The manager is 
away. He is at the fort." 

"Then I will wait and speak to him when he 
returns. ' ' 

"But, your ladyship, suppose your ship comes! 
Oh, your ladyship, write just a little chit," and the 
butler wrung his hands in real despair. 

That act of the farce having lasted long enough, 
I Avrote "too much" on the back of the bill. The 
butler carried it out on the silver salver, wont to a 



MADRAS AND CALCUTTA 83 

table at the end of the hall, and wrote something on 
the face of the bill. Pooh Bah had literally gone over 
to the other side of the stage and become manager 
himself. He returned in less than three minutes 
with the corrected bill, with apologies from the man- 
ager three miles away at the fort, and with his 
autograph ^'Thanks" written at the end. Then the 
combination butler-manager-bookkeeper took the 
money, went back to the hall table, and receipted 
the bill, which was all in the one handwriting. 

All the doors of my room, the windows, the hall, 
staircase, and portico were full of salaaming ser- 
vants when leave-taking came. The neighborhood 
must have been emptied for our farewell, as well as 
the village of servants in the back yard. From the 
triple-part chief to the humblest coolie, gardener, 
water-carrier, sweeper, and the despised woman 
slavey, all stood expectant, rubbing their noses 
upward wnth their palms and extending their hands 
as they wailed : ' ' Prissint ! Prissint ! Oh, memsahib, 
prissint !" 

"Will you kindly telephone to the hotel when the 
ship is sighted Sunday morning. There are eight 
passengers there," I had said to the clerk on Satur- 
day. "Oh, madam," said the pink Englishman in 
a shocked tone, "the telephone cannot be used on 
Sundays. The telephone office is closed." 

At sunrise and at sunset we drove to the empty 
harbor, and a black babu at the door of the steam- 
ship office said: "The Khedive, she will not come 
until morning now. She cannot get in the entrance 
of tlu' bri'akwater without daylight." 



84 WLNTEE INDIA 

"When will the launch go off to the ship?" 
"Oh, we don't get the passengers out. You just 
put yourself in a massoula-boat when you see the 
ship and go out to it yourself." 

We engaged a massoula-boat from him with the 
agreement that one of the crew should rouse the 
hotel when the Khedive was sighted. And he did, 
with such fervor and fury that we all drove at a 
Gilpin-speed for the harbor lest we miss the ship. 
Black boatmen ran the last mile beside us, screeching 
their numbers, holding out their tin license-tags, and 
dodging the blows of our own courier boatman, who 
resented any approaches toward his legal fares. We 
and our trunks and traps were but atoms in the 
bottom of the cavernous massoula-boat that the black 
babu had engaged for us — a primitive native boat 
whose timbers, fitted and tied together, only can 
withstand the famous INIadras surf. Six black man- 
apes plied arrow-headed poles that passed for oars, 
and with a wild, resounding chant shot away from 
the iron pier. We clung to the high gunwales as 
we stood on the loose lattice of poles and mats and 
wondered when the first great roller w^ould lift us. 
But Ave rowed only a few hundred yards to a ship 
within the still pool of the artificial harbor, sheltered 
by a breakwater whose opposing arms, bearing twin 
lighthouses, were far enough apart for fleets to have 
manoeuvered there after dark. Madras people went 
past us in dingies and dories and any sort of row- 
boats, and we in our arks of massoula-boats were as 
ridiculous as tourists generally are in strange lands. 
Enough tourists had been duped into engaging these 



MADRAS AND CALCUTTA 85 

huge surf-boats to make a very imposing appearance 
when the fleet approached the gangway in line. 
There was a smooth, smiling sunlit sea flickering 
beyond the breakwater that serene December day, 
and the fabled surf of the Coromandel coast and the 
**life-in-your-hand" embarkations at Madras were 
other outlived illusions. 

There had been a bedlam of coolies at the pier, but 
there was ten times more bedlam at the one gangway 
of the Khedive; one stream of passengers, servants, 
and baggage-coolies ascending the narrow^ swaying 
gangway, and another stream trying to descend, 
every lung and muscle in the lot working overtime. 
We hesitated long, but David, scenting a fray, was 
as intractable as a war-horse, and, leaping ahead, 
screamed, pushed, kicked, and slapped a way for us 
through the struggling bearers, the toppling trunks 
and bags. The others did the same, and one would 
rather have jumped over than have attempted to 
return. As one woman was jerked up by both arms 
from the rocking massoula-boat, a lurch sent her 
against the gangway chains and knocked her cha- 
telaine-bag ofl' and into the water. AVitli it went 
watch, purse, keys, tickets, and hotter of credit. And 
the ship was to sail in an hour! The purser sent a 
boatman in haste, a lighter came alongside, and the 
diver was dressed, his headpiece screwed on before 
our eyes, and his leaden knapsack arranged as his 
weighted feet were lowered from rung to rung of the 
ladder until beneath the water. A line of bubbles 
showed where he walked about at the bottom of the 
sea, and in five minutes he came up with the bag on 



86 WINTER INDIA 

his wrist, the whole proceeding as orderly and mat- 
ter-of-fact as if it were the usual thing to drop and 
recover articles in Madras harbor. 

The completed railway now gives one choice of a 
land route to Calcutta in half the time a ship re- 
quires ; but with the dust, heat, and discomfort con- 
sidered, it is not always preferred. 

"The Khedive, she" made the seven hundred and 
eighty miles from Madras to Calcutta in four days 
and a half, counting in the whole night that we 
anchored among a brilliant constellation of ships' 
lights at the Hugli mouth of the Ganges. When the 
ship started up the sacred, muddy stream of such 
ill omen, with a famous Hugli pilot in an enormous 
mushroom solar hat shading him like an umbrella, 
ports were closed, ropes laid out, and every officer, 
lascar, and stoker was at his post. The ship sailed 
smoothly over the shoals and quicksands of such dire 
record and nothing happened. 

We hastened to the Great Eastern Hotel, to which 
we had written in November, again in December, and 
twice telegraphed of our coming from Madras. 

"We never reserve rooms unless money is inclosed 
with the order," said the haughty brown clerk. 
"This hotel is full." 

"Have you any mail for us?" 

"Oh, yes. Many letters. They have Been coming 
for some time. The bank messenger brought many 
to-day. You will find them in that desk over there, ' ' 
pointing to a box where every one rummaged and 
chose at will. 

We drove in the fast-falling dusk to five hotels 



MADRAS AND CALCUTTA 87 

and four boarding-houses. Not a room nor a tent' 
could be had, and we were deciding whether to lay 
ourselves on an orphan asylum's door-step, seek the 
consul as really distressed Americans, or go back to 
the ship and insist upon their keeping us until morn- 
ing, when the peon of one of the hotels screamed 
and ran after us as we drove past. We hurried in 
and sat on the upper backstairs until we could make 
an instantaneous exchange of luggage with an officer 
called back to his hill station. The small back room 
had such shabby furnishings as would cause an 
American cook to give notice, and we commanded a 
view of tin roofs, chimney-pots, and clothes-lines. A 
half-clad, hairy man came in with a bloated goatskin 
of water over his shoulder. He pulled the goatskin 
neck around and filled the bath-tub from the leather 
reservoir— this primitive method surviving in the 
"city of palaces" after a century of British rule 
and long official example of luxury and splendor. 

In the dining-room each guest had his own servant 
standing behind his chair. One hundred guests sat 
at meat, and more than that many turbaned bearers 
stepped silently over the marble floor. Each re- 
tainer looked grim determination, and had a row 
of knives, forks, and spoons thrust dagger-wise in 
his belt. Then we discovered that the table d'hote 
was the battle-ground of the bearers, that food and 
forks Avere for the forehanded, for the swiftest and 
strongest only. Our Tamil was quivering for the 
fray and soon in the midst of it, wresting soup and 
fish, entree, roast, and game, trophy by trophy, and 
emerging from each hand-to-haud struggle with 



88 WINTER INDIA 

turban awry and eyes flashing. Although this foot- 
ball rush was going on in the pantry and dining- 
room, the swiftly moving, barefooted contestants 
made no sound on the marble floor, and only a sup- 
pressed hissing indicated the death-scuffle behind the 
screen. Each bearer put down the hard-won plate 
before his master, pulled a fresh knife and fork 
from his belt, gave them a rub on his voluminous 
garments, and fell into statuesque pose again iDehind 
the chair. 




CHAPTER VII 

CALCUTTA IN CHRISTMAS WEEK 

[NOTHER winter I took heed and 
reached Calcutta betimes, making sure 
of hotel accommodations for Christmas 
week, the gala season of the Anglo- 
Indian year, when all the fifteen hun- 
dred civilians who rule India, and all the officers who 
can be spared from cantonments, seek the capital. 

Going from and returning to Singapore there was 
opportunity to stop in Burma, politically a province 
of India, but a country quite unique, where the life 
and the people are so distinct from those of India 
that one cannot class it with Hindustan any more 
than Siam. A different religion has made the Bur- 
mese a different people, and the absence of caste, 
the freedom, the equality, in fact, the acknowledged 
superiority of the attractive, capable, Burmese wo- 
men have evolved a wholly different social order. 
There is light, and laughter and gaiety among its 
people, and the Burman is Malay enough to enjoy a 
life of leisure. The Chinese come and do the trad- 
ing, and the Madrasi come to do the work, and the 
Burmese woman keeps the shop, rules the family, 

so 



90 WINTER INDIA 

smokes her ''whacldng white cheroot" with grace, 
and exerts rare charm. 

In all sight-seeing nothing is such surprise, so Ori- 
ental, so dazzling and fascinating as the great Shoe- 
dagong pagoda at Rangoon. It repays one for all 
the entomological revels of the " B. I." boats to see 
that colossal, gilded, and jeweled monument sur- 
rounded by picturesque worshipers; to watch "the 
elephants a-pilin' teak"; to see the colossal Sleeping 
Buddha at Pegu; and to travel past one hundred 
miles of sacked rice awaiting the overtaxed railway 
transportation, as one rumbles by rail to Manda- 
lay, where the fantastic gilt and mirror-covered 
temples, monasteries, and palaces equal one's 
dreams of "the gorgeous East." Only seeing can 
convince one w^hat Buddhism can do for a people 
in contrast with Hinduism or Mohammedanism, and 
that the pagoda is always in sight in Burma — the 
swelling, white bodies tapering to needle spires 
often gilded and tipped with jewels — the sites of 
deserted cities like Amarapura and Pagan on the 
lower Irawadi dotted as thickly with temples and 
pagodas as ever they could have been with houses. 
Too many chapters would be required for anything 
like an adequate exploitation of this picturesque 
country and attractive people ; but until the great 
European mail-steamers touch at Rangoon the plea- 
sure traveler is warned against the slow coasting 
steamers on which one lives with the heat and the 
smells and the motion at the very stern, and where 
huge brown tropical roaches swarm, past any figures 
of speech to give idea. 



CALCUTTA IN CHRISTMAS WEEK 93 

There were brilliant panoramas on Calcutta streets, 
those ^'littering noondays and golden afternoons, 
but the hotels had only increased in numbers, and 
advanced in price in the few years. Hotels in 
India are all conducted on the pension or American 
plan of a fixed rate per day, with everything save 
wine included, and the charges had risen from the 
average five and seven rupees to ten and fifteen 
rupees, to the indignation of Anglo-Indians, who, 
in no gentle terms, blame increasing tourist travel 
for the increased cost of living. 

I was conducted across a back yard and up a 
flight of outer steps to a room whose reed matting 
had not been disturbed in many seasons. " But the 
Bishop of New York occupied that room last year 
and made no complaint, ' ' said the landlady, dramat- 
ically. 

" Think how much more Christian fortitude and 
saving grace a bishop has to have " — and she coun- 
termanded the order for a new matting to be laid on 
top of the old one in shiftless Indian fashion, and 
decreed a cleaning instead. Two inches of dust, that 
had to be shoveled off, underlay the matting, then 
the cement floor was washed with disinfectants, and 
there was one clean room in one Calcutta hotel that 
night. When the washstand, grimed with the wear 
of many seasons, had received a coat of white paint, 
—without a bowl or article being removed,— it was 
a splendid apartment— for an Indian hotel. I al- 
most hesitated to exchange it for " one of the best 
rooms in the house"— a lofty, whitewashed cell 
with worn cocoa matting on the floor, where twilight 



94 WINTER INDIA 

reigned all day and no pernicious ray of sunlight 
fell. "This is Room 66 in the Hotel in Cal- 
cutta, one of the best in the house," said an Ameri- 
can lecturer once, and at sight of the lantern picture 
the audience roared with laughter. 

" Go and see the Black Hole of Calcutta," said 
the Viceroy, who had finally determined and marked 
the exact spot. " I have no need to, Your Excel- 
lency. I live there now. Room 18, Hotel, ' ' said 

another winter visitor. 

There is little of stock sight-seeing for the tourist 
—only the Zoological and Botanical Gardens and 
the Temple of Kali; there are no specialties or local 
opportunities in souvenir shopping in Calcutta, and 
the European life is not what one comes half-way 
around the world to see; so that the traveler's stay 
in this city is usually brief. The fact of its being 
the capital for so short a season gives Calcutta much 
of a watering-place atmosphere. 

Except for innumerable turbaned and bare-footed 
servants, the pankha, and the use of many Hin- 
dustani words, the life is the life of London— a 
London with the chill taken off and the sun shining 
gloriously. Every one waits for the London 
Times to know the real news of the world; and 
although the Calcutta newspapers hold diverting 
advertisements of cinder-picking and ash-sifting 
rights for sale, and "20 Rhinoceroses Wanted, 
Rupees 2000 each," local opinion waits on the daily 
arrival of the Allahahad Pioneer, a nursery of ge- 
nius wherein Sinnett and Kipling and Marion Craw- 
ford first won public applause. 



CALCUTTA IN CHRISTMAS WEEK 95 

Even in December there is suuimer heat at noon, 
and one wears the white gowns of the tropics at 
that high social hour in Calcutta ; for one writes 
his name in the visitors' book at Government House, 
all formal calls are made, and letters of introduction 
are presented between twelve and two o'clock; and 
on Sundays, after church, every drawing-room hums 
with visitors' chat. The solid two-o'clock tiffin, fol- 
lowing the heavy ten-o'clock breakfast, is so soon suc- 
ceeded by the four-o'clock tea and the eight-o'clock 
dinner, that it is a surprise that any one survives the 
constant feasting which fills Anglo-Indian life. Lit- 
tle can be urged against a climate that permits such 
Gargantuan feats. The London menu goes with the 
British drum-beat round the world, and the beef and 
beer and cheese, the boiled potato, the cauliflower, 
and orange marmalade are fixed and omnipresent. 
More continuous than the imperial drum-beat is the 
sound of the soda-water bottle, on which, with the 
quinine sulphate, British rule rests. A chill and 
piercing dampness succeeds sunset, and often at 
night dense fogs shroud lamp-posts and landmarks 
until street travel is at a standstill. The modem 
Calcutta houses have fireplaces where a few lumps 
of coal diffuse a cheerful dryness, but in the older 
mansions one is bidden quite seriously to sit nearer 
the lamp and enjoy its benign radiation. 

The Viceroy comes do^\^l from Simla in November, 
and goes on a provincial tour, reaching Calcutta be- 
fore Christmas, when tents for extra guests decorate 
the lawns of Government House, of the clubs and 
great residences ; and the empire revolves within the 



96 WINTER INDIA 

white viceregal palace. The standard flies above the 
main entrance, red lancers of the body-guard pose 
statuesque before the portico, and at times a red 
carpet rolls down the steps and the Viceroy goes in 
state to return princely visits, or to stand on a pearl 
and bullion embroidered carpet before his silver 
arm-chair and lay a corner-stone, unveil a statue, 
or open some new public building. The great event 
of the racing week is the Viceroy's Cup, when all 
sporting India has its eye on the Maidan, remotest 
cantonments as heavily interested as the cheering 
crowds on the oval. The Viceroy comes in state, and 
his loge and lawn are the center of interest and the 
social heaven of the ambitious, who, between events, 
parade in the hats and gowns brought out from 
London and Paris for the races. Rajas and nabobs 
of degree make a brave show too, with their jeweled 
turbans, and necklaces worn outside frock coats of 
flowered satins ; the tight-fitting trousers to match 
as often trimmed with tinsel braid and French 
passementerie. Thousands of natives, in the univer- 
sal white garments and turbans of every hue, make 
such patches of shifting rainbow color in the field, 
such a living tulip-bed, as fascinates the eye more 
than any scramble of running horses. 

Then all the world drives in the Maidan, making 
a grand defile down the Red Road and the avenue 
of statues, along the Strand and the Esplanade by 
the Eden Gardens, where the band plays at sunset. 
Eastern and Western fashions are strangely con- 
trasted. The bhisti, with swollen goatskins on their 
backs, sprinkle the dust, as in the times of Alexander 



CALCUTTA IN CHlilSTMAS WEEK 97 

the Great and Cyrus, while automobiles fly by, elec- 
tric lights prick the blue mists of distance, and night 
falls with tropic swiftness. 

The Viceroy and his wife together hold a draw- 
ing-room a few days after Christmas, when a pro- 
cession of women winds slowly up the white stair- 
case of Government House lined with red-coated 
red-turbaned servants, and past the many barriers 
to the throne-room, where the knee is bent to vice- 
royalty, and one train and bouquet give way to the 
long procession of trains and bouquets. One does 
not soon forget the scenes of Lord Curzon's rule 
in India. The Viceroy, in his white satin small- 
clothes, girt with his orders and stars and the in- 
signia of the Garter, and Lady Curzon, that su- 
premely beautiful woman of her day, on the dais 
beside him in glittering tiara and ropes of pearls, 
her long train rippling away over the edge of the 
steps, remind one of certain of David's historical 
pictures. Lady Curzon has held all native and Anglo- 
India under the spell of her charm during her stay. 
There could be no rivalry in beauty, and her unfail- 
ing tact and sweet gentleness carry all before her. 
The Indian people exhausted the imagery of their 
several hundred languages to describe her beauty, 
the sun, moon, stars, jewels, and all the goddesses 
and gopis of their pantheon being drawn into com- 
parison to describe the lovely "Lady Sahib." 

A still larger company of men are presented to 
the Viceroy, receiving alone, at the levee, and then 
the state balls and state dinners, small dinners and 
dances rapidly succeed one another, while the Vice- 



98 WINTEE INDIA 

roy's private hospitalities are continuous. At the 
end of each week the viceregal family go to their 
country house at Barrackpur, fourteen miles up 
the Hugli, the large house-party reinforced by a 
company of guests brought up on the yacht to 
lunch under the great banian-tree. Like Lord 
Auckland, Lord Curzon, with the Dowager Empress 
of China, rules half the human race and still finds 
time to breakfast under that banian-tree. Pos- 
sessed of that same tireless energy as those two other 
strenuous rulers of his day, President Roosevelt and 
the Emperor William, Lord Curzon has given Anglo- 
India daily shock and sensation since his arrival, 
and sleepy bureaus and slow officials were galvan- 
ized to a life that has known no resting since. There 
has been no monotony during Lord Curzon 's time, 
and those who have waited for him to weary of hus- 
tling the East, to sit back in conventional viceregal 
fashion and sign the papers brought him, have had 
to resign themselves to his omnipresence and ter- 
rible activity, his thirst for information, and his 
frenzy for work. He has impressed his vigorous per- 
sonality upon every branch of the imperial service, 
and already has visited more native states and dis- 
tant provinces than any predecessor; ordering, 
with equal attention to minutiie, the least details 
of the increased state and ceremony now attending 
the viceregal court, the methods of famine relief 
and plague control, and of the organization of the 
new district created on the northwest frontier. He 
has brought India to the world's attention and given 
it an impetus in the path of progress and prosperity. 



CALCUTTA IN CHRISTMAS WEEK 99 

The " L. G." or Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, 
ruler of sixty millions of people, carries on an elabo- 
rate program of hospitalities at Belvidere, his beau- 
tiful villa beyond the race-course, and the com- 
mander-in-chief and the local military officers at the 
fort do their part to crowd the January weeks with 
social events for the keenly pleasure-loving English 
in exile. It is only at investment ceremonies and at 
durbars on the arrival of a new viceroy that the 
native princes assemble at the Calcutta court in 
great numbers. A few Parsi women in graceful 
head draperies of pale silks, and loaded with jewels, 
attend the functions at Government House, and a 
few elderly and widowed Hindu ladies of rank re- 
ceive visitors of their own sex ; but otherwise the 
native women of the higher classes remain in as 
great seclusion as ever, veiled even when they drive 
in closed carriages. On one afternoon of the week, 
the India Museum is closed to men visitors, and na- 
tive women and children come by the gharry-load 
to the ''wonder-house." Foreign women can en- 
ter the museum then, mingle with their purdah sis- 
ters, and watch the jeweled persons as they stroll 
about as curious and as ignorant as the smaller 
children. 

The India Museum is rich beyond rivalry in 
treasures of ancient art. The magnificent carved 
gateway and rail from the Buddhist tope at Sanchi, 
original of the casts in London and in Paris, 
bas-reliefs and images from Gandhara and Amra- 
oti, with treasures and relics from the great tem- 
ple at Buddlia-Gaya, have long made the fame of the 



100 WINTER INDIA 

museum. When the Piprawah mound at Padaria on 
the Nepal frontier was excavated, and the stone 
coffer containing the relics and fragments of the 
body of Gautama Buddha were found, no archoB- 
ologist or representative of the government was pres- 
ent, and the " L. G." of the Northwest Provinces, 
when communicated with, divided the treasures be- 
tween the India Museum and the King of Siam, the 
only Buddhist sovereign of this day. The sandstone 
coffer, a soapstone vase, a crystal vase, some bits of 
bone and crumbling particles of wood, many pearls, 
tiny gold beads and flowers, and cut amethyst, topaz, 
carnelian, coral, garnet, beryl, and jade stars, to- 
gether with larger beaten gold ornaments in the 
shape of the swastika, came to this museum— more 
authentic relics of the founder of a great religion 
than any European cathedral contains. It pos- 
sesses also the inscription recording the deposit of 
these relics of the body of the Buddha in that mound 
by the members of the Sakya clan— a treasure of 
archaeology which makes real the personality of the 
Buddha, the founder of that religion no longer a 
solar myth. This museum has an average of sixty 
thousand visitors a month, equaling nearly the 
throngs at the Louvi'e; but the company of bare- 
footed, sheeted Bengalis are so aimless and vacant- 
looking that one questions whether the carefully 
planned exhibits reach beyond the retina, whether 
they have any comprehension of the objects. 

One does not expect to find a great leisure class 
in India, where the struggle for existence is so close 
and bitter, but watching the idle drift of natives 



CALCUTTA IN CHRISTMAS WEEK 101 

past this stretch of Chowringee Road, and the Mai- 
dan before the museum, even more than through 
the labyrinthine bazaars, one is appalled and op- 
pressed with the realization of India's population— 
294,360,356. All day the lean, wistful, apathetic 
men stream up and down, up and down, going no- 
where, doing nothing— hundreds passing at any mo- 
ment, thousands in an hour, with no women and 
rarely a child in sight. Each Hindu, in his dirty 
head-sheet, represents a family crowded back some- 
where in the city slums or in mud villages beyond. 
One easily believes the census figures, and sees how 
the frightful problem of over-population besets the 
empire ; how necessary, almost, are plague and fam- 
ine, in lieu of wars, to reduce the swarms and herds 
of these lank, inert, torpid, half-fed, half-clothed, 
half-alive Bengalis, When the sixty million Ben- 
galis are crowded seven hundred and even nine 
hundred to the square mile of this fertile prov- 
ince, and are the most prolific of Indian races, they 
must reap three harvests a year even to half live, as 
they do. Long-continued peace and the sanitary 
blessings of English rule have so preserved and in- 
creased human life that disease and starvation seem 
too slow agents to accomplish the necessary reduc- 
tion. Only tidal waves and earthquakes, annual 
disasters like those of Pompeii and Martinique, could 
keep the population within bounds. 

The Hindus are not a laughing, light-hearted, joy- 
ous people, and the Bengali is the most melancholy 
of them. He has little, almost no sense of humor, 
his voice is always in a sad minor key when not 



102 WINTER INDIA 

quarreling, and the corners of his mouth are perma- 
nently drawn down. A sad sobriety is his sense of 
dignity and good form. The hotel porter calls a 
"fitton" (phaeton), not with the tyrant voice of 
command, but with the sad, piercing wail of a ban- 
shee. The sais, wrapped in melancholy and a 
quilted bed-spread, responds with a mournful loon 
cry, and urges his lean, despondent horses forward, 
the running sais in tattered sheet hanging on be- 
hind, like an old dust-cloth, with bags of green fod- 
der. He jeers but never laughs, and one wonders 
if he can, with so little room for a normal pair of 
lungs in that thin, flat body and narrow chest. With 
no oxygen to speak of for generations, they can 
hardly be cheerful or energetic. Athletic sports are 
not in the line of the young Bengalis of the Brah- 
man castes who crowd the schools, take all the 
prizes, and fill the government offices, — Young Ben- 
gal being usually a superficially educated poll-par- 
rot quite as offensive and hopeless as Young China. 
The Bengalis are slow to reward the Christian mis- 
sionaries who have worked among them for a cen- 
tury, but they are converted to Mohammedanism in 
droves, M^hole villages adopting that casteless creed. 
The laboring Hindu seems generally incompetent, 
and sadly lacks inventiveness, originality, ingenuity, 
and the all-embracing but indescribable faculty 
known as " gumption." His appliances, tools, and 
instruments are unchanged since the day of Alexan- 
der, and the mechanical sense seems wholly denied 
him. Everything has come to him with his con- 
querors. With spindle legs, flat chest, and shrunken 



CALCUTTA IN CHRISTMAS WEEK 103 

arms, one wonders how one of them can do the heavy 
work of dock-yards, harbors, railway yards, and 
iron foundries. Everything!: is hoisted on the head 
and shoulder, and so little is carried in the hand 
that handles are superfluous ornaments on luggage. 
One meets grand pianos and packing-cases of equal 
size carried on the heads of eight and twelve men, 
who step together with locked arms. I watched one 
coolie's seven attempts to carry ten pasteboard boxes 
from one shop counter to another. Each time he 
heaped the load on one arm his draped head-sheet 
fell away. Each time he reflung the sheet the boxes 
dropped from the limp arm, and the alternating 
play went on, until one would have expected an 
employer to deal blows— or for any rational creature 
to throw away the sheet and get to work. Centuries 
have not evolved a way of tying or pinning the 
woman's veil fast, and weary housekeepers describe 
the ayah's efforts to make a bed and keep her veil 
in place as an alternating affair like that of my 
coolie and the ten boxes. 

The curse of caste and all the difficulties its ob- 
servance implies further complicate dealings with 
these people, and a century of enlightened rule has 
not freed them from its tyranny. The railway has 
done something toward leveling castes, but for the 
journey only. Instead of reviling and recoiling 
from the railway as an invention of the defiling 
European for the express purpose of destroying 
caste, the Brahman artfullv calls steam one of the 
thousand and eight uneatalogued manifestations of 
Vishnu. He conceals his sacred thread, washes off 



104 WINTER INDIA 

his caste-mark, and rides in the jam of a third-class 
car, touching sweepers and water-carriers and 
corpse-burners, and trusts to after-purification. In- 
stead of the Chinese hostility to railways, they have 
so much adopted them for their own that there is al- 
ready a hereditary railway caste, and railway work- 
ers of the third generation are following their fa- 
thers' occupation as naturally as if it were an oc- 
cupation of centuries' inheritance. One never ar- 
rives at an end of the puzzling caste distinctions. 
With the four great castes of Brahmans subdivided 
into eighteen hundred and eighty-six castes, it is 
beyond any European mind to master its intricacies. 
Because of caste, no one jostles you in the street, 
and insistent touts keep a safe distance. 




CHAPTER VIII 

THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD 

^N traveling north from Calcutta toward 
Darjiling, we had the same springless, 
cheerless, dusty railway cars as in 
[Southern India; the same bare floors, 
'hard, leather-covered sofas, and rat- 
tling windows of violet glass that gave a wintry, 
melancholy look to the flat Bengal plain that we 
jolted over all the afternoon. After sunset it grew 
really cold in the bare, dimly lighted box, that 
finally halted amid clamoring torch-bearers on a sid- 
ing by a river bank. It might as well have been the 
crumbling mud banks of the upper Missouri as 
those of the sacred Ganges that we descended to 
reach a flat-bottomed, stern-wheel river steamer of 
American model ; but no band of Sioux or Crees on 
the war-path ever raised such din as the coolies at 
Damookdea when the " up-mail " arrived. The 
very stars seemed to reel from the noise, and we 
breathed deep sighs of thanksgiving when the boat 
wheezed away from the movable station and on 
across "sacred Mother Ganges" to Sara Ghat, 
where another horde of coolies lay in wait, shriek- 
ing and gesticulating in the torchlight as the boat 

105 



106 WINTER INDIA 

advanced. ''I catch coolies," said David, and he 
did so, dragging them on board by leg, arm, or turban 
end, as chanced. Although we had telegraphed to 
have lower sofas reserved, the Anglo-Indian rail- 
way brain has not been equal to devising or borrow- 
ing a system of numbering and definitely securing 
such a reservation. Possession was to the swiftest, 
and the foot-race up a soft bank and over ends of 
raihvay ties by torchlight warmed one at least. 
The air grew colder, and bitterly colder, as we rum- 
bled along through the night, and the loose-fitting 
doors and windows sent frosty currents across us. 
From dreams of Pullman curtains, blankets, soft 
mattresses and springs, of double windows and 
thick carpets, of sixteen-wheeled trucks with cylin- 
drical springs under long cars hung far above the 
dusty road-bed, we woke to the cold reality of our 
freight- and cattle-car comforts. Before daylight 
tea-trays flashed in the lamplight of way stations, 
and cups of freshly made tea thawed one and 
cheered the gray hour of dawn, while the thick frost 
haze of the plain half obscured the sky. 

By six o'clock it was light enough to see that the 
people had changed overnight with the temperature. 
We had left the sleek, supple, barefooted Bengali 
in his sheeted drapery, with his thin nose and deep 
eyes, and come to a race with high cheek bones and 
fiat Mongol faces, first cousins to the Chinese, even 
to the cut of their loose-sleeved coats with over- 
lapping fronts, and their high cloth boots. The 
queue and the turban were worn together ; and that 
was not more incongruous than the Hindu caste- 



THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD 107 

mark on the brow of a flat, Mongol face. There 
were ruddy-faced mountaineers in Tatar caps on 
the platforms, and unveiled women with elaborate 
head-dresses and necklaces of silver, coral, and tur- 
quoises. Beyond the trees and houses of Haldibari 
station there loomed a great rose-pink line of peaks 
and snowy battlements, stretching across the upper 
sky and resting al)ove ridges of tremendous blue 
and hazily purple mountains. As the sun rose, the 
peaks paled, turned to gold and silvery white, and 
the greatest mountain wall in the world stood 
sharply revealed, twenty-eight thousand feet in air, 
a parapet of high heaven, the first sight of which 
leaves one breathless. Beyond all other mountain 
views is that first sight of the Himalayas, as the 
great line of snow-peaks towers from the Siliguri- 
plain. 

After such mundane things as coffee and eggs, the 
most absurd little narrow-gage cars, with only can- 
vas curtains as protection from the changes of moun- 
tain weather, trundled us across a few level miles, 
and more slowly began climbing through shady 
jungles and along cleared hillsides, with now a view 
out to the level, yellow plain where a shining river 
stretched to hazy distance, and now a view toward 
silvery peaks that rose continually higher. The tiny 
engine gained a thousand feet in altitude each hour, 
creeping along hillsides planted with monotonous 
lines of tea-bushes, through dry and dusty jungles 
where trees and tree-ferns, creepers and underbrush, 
were parched and frost-nipped, dull with the dust 
of the dry season. The toy train crawled over 



108 WINTER INDIA 

curves and loops, and one wished that the Gladstone 
family, owning the line, had provided, instead of the 
string of cabs linked together, one well-built and 
windowed trolley-car, that one might sit in comfort 
and enjoy the views that continually opened. Flat- 
faced Lepcha and Bhutia women stared with un- 
covered faces and Chinese stolidity as the train 
slowly passed them, each woman a family savings- 
bank with the hoarded rupees strung in overlapping 
rows on her head and neck. Tibetans, too, w^re seen, 
and at Kurseong, five thousand feet above the sea, 
in the midst of tea-gardens, we were only nineteen 
miles from the Tibetan frontier. After tiffin in the 
chill, whitewashed dining-room of the Kurseong 
hotel, we thawed ourselves in the sunny garden, 
where a Catholic priest from the adjoining mission- 
house pointed the way to the pass at the edge of 
Tibet, where he had been spending some months. 
Although the Tibetans come freely across the boun- 
dary to trade and to work in the tea plantations, all 
English and Europeans are rigorously excluded, 
and none of the Indian tea openly reaches Tibet; 
the Chinese monopoly of the tea trade being the 
chief reason for the severe exclusion laws the lamas 
maintain. 

Kunchinjinga seemed no nearer, only higher, 
still higher, and looming larger against the sky. The 
air was decidedly a nipping one, and with all our 
rugs and razais and hot-water cans at our feet, we 
found the foolish little open tram-car anything but 
a rational conveyance for high mountain travel, still 
less appropriate when we ran into a dense, woolly 



THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD 109 

white cloud that hid everything for half an hour. 
The toy engine screeched, wheezed, panted, and 
slowly drew us up to cloudland by many loops and 
switchbacks; going backward and forward, but al- 
ways upward, until we came to Ghoom, a double row 
of huts lining the track. There were picturesque 
folk in that bazaar, and foremost was the "witch of 
Ghoom," a wrinkled squaw who claimed to be one 
hundred years old, and begged for an anna on that 
account. A stumpy little Gurkha officer boarded 
the train there, his breast covered with war medals, 
and his wife covered with rows and rows of gold and 
silver coin necklaces and strings of coral, turquoise, 
and amber beads; her head as thickly plated with 
family assets, and her costume only richer in mate- 
rial than the bright purple, red, green, orange, and 
yellow garments of the hill folk that made Ghoom 's 
one street a lane of color and light. Children rode 
pickaback instead of astride the Hindu hip ; all 
loads w^ere carried on the back by a strap over the 
brow, and after the inert and melancholy Hindus, 
these hill folk seemed a light-hearted, laughing 
people. 

We were eight hours in accomplishing the fifty 
miles, reaching an elevation of 7470 feet at Ghoom, 
and descending to 6000 feet at Darjiling, a whole 
daylight of child's play with a toy train to any one 
who has traveled on Colorado's narrow-gage moun- 
tain railways. 

We were carried from the station to the hotel in 
dandy-wallahs, carrying-chairs like the swan and 
shell chariots of stage j^antomimes, the bearers 



110 WINTER INDIA 

turning them backward to climb steps or steep 
places. From the hotel windows and the terraced 
roads of the town, which occupies the crest of a 
knife-edged ridge, one has a full view of the front of 
Kunchinjinga and the long running line of snows 
across the deep chasm of the Ran jit. All too soon 
sunset reversed the pageant of the morning, and as 
the white peaks changed to gold, flame color, and 
rose-pink, blue and purple mists filled each ravine 
and valley. The rosy phantom lingered long before 
fading to cold gray and silver, the western sky glow- 
ing for a full hour, and a young white moon showing 
through the leafless trees. 

The bazaar or market-place was empty then, for its 
gala time is on Sunday morning, when the tea-pick- 
ers come from remotest plantations to show and buy 
their finery ; but there was a curio-shop whose owner 
was chief est curio of the lot— one of the many who 
announce that they will surely reach Lhasa. He 
was then studying Tibetan, and produced an alleged 
lama who was disloyally teaching him the language 
and the religious exercises and formula that would 
help him to enter Lhasa in disguise. The lama 
fitted well into the room full of prayer-wheels, skull 
drums, skull bowls, tobacco-pouches, relic-boxes, 
bells, and images, and his presence surely helped 
business. With serious face the would-be explorer 
told how he should be welcomed to Lhasa as an 
envoy of the Theosophical Societies of Paris and 
London; how he should gather religious objects for 
Prince Ferdinand d'Este, and butterflies for Baron 
Rothschild, the latter guaranteeing all the expenses 



THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD 111 

of the trip for the sake of the resulting collections. 
He had butterflies by the hundreds, great jewel- 
winged creatures of every color, with iridescent 
shadings and velvet bloom that were a delight to 
the eye. Tibet may still be worth penetrating for 
unknown butterflies, but from the early visits of 
French priests and English travelers down to the re- 
cent visit of Pundit Chandra Das, of native members 
of the Geological Survey of India, and of the Japan- 
ese Buddhist priests, about all that the world in gen- 
eral wants to know about Lhasa is known. Photo- 
graphs of its streets and monasteries prove the cor- 
rectness of the old engravings; Dr. Waddell has 
translated and edited the very complete local guide 
for Lhasa ; and three women have gone as near to 
Lhasa as any explorer since Abbe Hue. All the 
blue-eyed travelers naturally failed to disguise them- 
selves, and the Japanese had least difficulty in the 
enterprise. 

Long before daylight the next morning we started 
in chairs in frosty darkness, a sky full of glittering 
stars lighting dimly the gigantic white shadows so 
strangely high in the sky. We passed through the 
military station and sanatorium of Jelapahar, along 
the side of the knife-ridge to Ghoom, and up to the 
isolated summit of Tiger Hill, fifteen hundred feet 
higher than Darjiling, where nothing interrupts the 
view of the whole range of snow-peaks from Kun- 
chinjinga to Mount Everest. We sat in the lee of a 
boulder, wrapped in rugs and razais, our veins freez- 
ing in that thin, icy, mountain-top air, while the 
mixed lot of coolies and horse-boys accompanying 



112 WINTER INDIA 

the tourist contingent were unconscious of the cold ; 
coolie No. 108 improving the time by tying large 
turquoises to holes in the lobes of his ears. They all 
wore these rough Tibetan turquoise ornaments, and 
turned many rupees by their sale while we waited for 
the sun, the lobe of the ear being the regulation show- 
case for these regular agents of a regular jewel mer- 
chant. The smart tourist always suspects the 
professional dealer, and much more confidingly 
trusts the simple hillman, and pays him a better 
price for bits of chalk dyed blue or ground glass 
of cerulean hue. The tip of Kunchinjinga, 28,150 
feet in air, first turned rose-red and then caught the 
sun's rays, that flashed electrically down the long 
white line — a spectacle unequaled. Even the tour- 
ist's perpetual-motion tongue was silenced as the 
color pageant proceeded, and Kunchinjinga, with 
half of its height snow-covered, so transcended all 
one's imaginings that it did not seem the vision 
could be reality. Mount Everest, to our bitter disap- 
pointment, sulked in a tent of clouds to westward; 
but Kunchinjinga was visible all day long from 
our windows, and at sunset ran through its color 
changes once more. 

It was degrees and degrees colder the next morn- 
ing, but the sky was clearer, and the dazzling stars 
lighted the white phantom across the Kan jit more 
clearly. The frost lay like snow on Tiger Hill ; the 
water by the wayside was frozen ; and the wind 
blew with glacial edge that benumbed the little com- 
pany of sun-worshipers gathered there at dawn. 
Again the world was suffused with a rose flush, a 



THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD 113 

flash of sunlight touched Kunchinjinga and ran 
along the line of peaks clear to the three white pin- 
nacles that rise above the depression of Choi a Pass. 
I had not expected Mount Everest to be merely one 
small finger-tip of snow one hundred and twenty 
miles away. It was hardly worth while to hold up 
field-glasses in that arctic wind to look at that tri- 
fling nodule on the far horizon. It did not look 
like the greatest mountain in the world, "the high- 
est measured elevation on earth." Imagination 
could not invest it with any superiority — not while 
splendid Kunchinjinga was there before us, with 
snow streamers and pennants and rosy cloud-ban- 
ners floating away from those storehouse peaks of 
gold, silver, gems, and grains, as the Tibetans de- 
scribe the five summits. 

" Why are the globe-trotters so bent on seeing 
Mount Everest?" asked a Geological Survey officer. 
*'It is not the finest peak, if it is the highest. It 
is only megalomania that takes the tourists off to 
Tiger Hill to see the highest peak in the world. 
Everest is not to be compared for looks with Peak 
XIII and Peak D^. Those are the finest arrange- 
ments in rock and snow in the Himalayas. And 
then. Mount Everest is not in British territory, you 
know, and until we annex Nepal, I object to its be- 
ing made so much of." 

When we had come down from the Himalayan 
heights to the commonplace level of the plains again, 
and recrossed the Ganges, we had to share the two- 
sofa compartment with a severely silent and resent- 
ful Anglo-Indian matron, who stared at us heart- 



114 WINTER INDIA 

lessly, contemptuously, and evidently denied us the 
right to occupy any part of her compartment and 
hemisphere. For the trip to Calcutta, she had 
brought with her into the compartment a tin 
steamer-trunk, a canvas hold-all, two dressing-bags, 
a Gladstone bag, a tiffin-basket, a basket tea-pot, a 
tin bonnet-box, a roll of razais and fur rugs, a shawl- 
strap bundle of cloaks and jackets, and one large 
bouquet. Her "boxes" were in the luggage- van. 

But this lady of luggage was only forerunner to 
the memsahib we met when we left Calcutta the 
next night. We had sent the bearer ahead with our 
luggage two hours before train time. Wlien we 
reached the Howrah station, we found that while our 
man was called off to pay a charge for extra luggage 
the paper of reservation had been unpinned from one 
lower berth and fastened to the upper one by an 
Anglo-Indian lady, who then unrolled her bedding, 
seated herself on it, and became deaf to any remarks 
or remonstrance. She had brought with her into the 
compartment the usual British impedimenta — tin 
steamer-trunk, canvas hold-all, Gladstone bag, laun- 
dry-bag, dressing-bag, tiffin-basket, a roll of um- 
brellas, a tennis racket, a bag with her pith hat, also 
a wicker chair, a collection of garments which hung 
from every available hook, and a large round-topped 
Saratoga trunk. When we protested to the station- 
master about the changing of his reservations, he 
could or dared do nothing. Possession was nine 
points, and the tenth was a gleam in her eye that 
might have warned away a lion-tamer. We pro- 
duced our receipts and insisted that the station-mas- 



THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD 115 

ter should send our large trunks into the compart- 
ment, too, and give us back th(? sixteen rupees we 
had paid for extra luggage, or else the memsahib's 
trunks should go. They went; and she paid six 
rupees through the window Avith wrath and threats. 
Only the thinnest veneer of civilization prevented 
her from laying violent hands upon us then, or 
strangling us in the night. Nothing so shocks and 
offends the Anglo-Indian traveler on American 
transcontinental trains as the publicity of the Pull- 
man cars, where each berth has its curtain and num- 
ber, and is as securely reserved as a theater chair. 
May they always occupy four-berthed, uncurtained 
carriages with infuriated strangers who have stolen 
their lower berths and owe them a grudge besides ! 




CHAPTER IX 

MAHABODIII, THE PLACE OF GREAT INTELLIGENCE 

|0T Jerusalem nor even Mecca is held 
in greater reverence by the millions of 
Christians and Mohammedans than is 
Buddha-Gaya by many more millions 
of Buddhists, who, inhabiting every 
part of Asia save India, look upon the temple at 
Mahabodhi as their greatest shrine, to the Sacred 
Bo-tree beside it as their most holy relic and living 
symbol, the most venerated, if not strictly the most 
venerable, tree on earth — Bodhi-druma, the Tree 
of Knowledge, beneath which Gautama became the 
Buddha, the Awakened, the Enlightened. 

The so-called Buddhist Holy Land, the ancient 
Magadha, lies east of Benares and south of the 
Ganges River, within a radius of one hundred and 
fifty miles from Buddha-Gaya. The birthplace of 
the Nepalese prince Siddhartha, and the original 
burial-place of Gautama Buddha, so recently iden- 
tified and excavated, are two hundred miles north of 
Buddha-Gaya, near the Nepal frontier. Every place 
associated with the life of the Great Teacher was 
marked by an inscribed column or a votive stupa 
by the emperor Asoka 250 b.c. ; and from the abun- 

116 



THE PLACE OF GREAT INTELLIGENCE 117 

dant Pali, Sanskrit, and Chinese accounts, every 
place has been exactly determined, the recent finding 
of the very bones of the body of Buddha in the in- 
scribed casket which his family had deposited be- 
neath the great mound at Piprawah adding the last 
historic link in the chain, and leaving the life of 
Gautama Buddha an open book. 

Very evidently no other place in India has such 
historical importance, and yet no place is so seldom 
visited by the legion of winter tourists, as this 
Buddha-Gaya of modern Behar, the Uruwela of an- 
cient Magadha, the birthplace of one of the world's 
greatest religions. Until Lord Elgin's visit in 1895, 
no viceroy had sought this most ancient and historic 
spot in the empire. Outward India and the life of 
the people liave changed so little that one easily 
pictures the scenes occurring twenty-five centuries 
ago in the same setting — when the Great Knight, 
Siddhartha, the Rajput, having made the Great Re- 
nunciation, left family and home and high estate 
on the full-moon night of July, and, with his five 
disciples, journeyed southward from his capital at 
Kapilavastu to Rajagriha, and finally along the 
river bank to the jungles of Uruwela, where, for 
six years, he practised the most rigorous penance, 
self-torture, and mortification. When he had re- 
duced himself to living on one grain of rice a day, 
he fell as in death ; and then, convinced of the use- 
lessness of such a life of extreme bodily penance, 
he partook of food. His disciples forsook this 
starved ascetic for so basely yielding to the body, 
and the monk Gautama wandered to the river 



118 WINTER INDIA 

bank, where Sujata, a villager's daughter, gave him 
a bowl of milk and honey which he consumed in 
the shade of a bo-tree. Still sitting there, facing 
eastward, he attained full and perfect wisdom, the 
supreme knowledge, in four meditations. For seven 
times seven days and nights he continued his vigils, 
assailed by all temptations and evils, say the legends. 
For one space he paced to and fro beyond the Bo- 
tree — a path immortalized and literally made the 
Jeweled Cloister. For another space he regarded 
the tree day and night, without removing his eyes, 
the great Nagas, or cobra kings, protecting him with 
their outspread hoods from the chilling rain, and the 
snails covering his head with their cool, moist bodies 
from the scorching sun. He could then have entered 
into Nirvana, but upon further meditation he de- 
termined to share his treasure of wisdom with his 
fellow-men. Resuming his staff and begging-bowl, 
he walked on to Benares and there converted his lost 
disciples and ultimately the world, Gautama Bud- 
dha being first to preach universal equality and the 
brotherhood of man ; enjoining pity, love, and char- 
ity for all ; protesting against caste distinctions, 
against propitiation by sacrifices, penances, and of- 
ferings; and teaching that man must attain divine 
favor and perfect wisdom by his moral qualities and 
pure life alone, and thus reach the peace of Nirvana, 
the calm that follows upon self-victory, the extinc- 
tion of anger, lust, and ignorance. 

At the end of six months he sent his sixty disci- 
ples forth to preach the new wisdom, and himself re- 
turned to the foot of this Bo-tree at Uruwela, and, 



THE PLACE OF GREAT INTELLIGENCE 119 

there converting the three fire-worshiping Brahman 
hermits who lived in that solitude, he gained Ka- 
syapa, bcst-bcloved disciple after his cousin Ananda. 
As a mendicant, begging from door to door, he re- 
visited Kapilavastu and saw again his aged father 
and his widowed wife, Yasodhara, who adopted the 
religious life and became the first Buddhist nun. 
His son, Rahula, demanding his inheritance, was en- 
dowed with some of the wisdom acquired by the 
Buddha beneath the Bo-tree and admitted to the 
order, and Gautama's half-brother also assumed the 
mendicant's robe and bowl. For forty-four years 
after the great struggle beneath the Bo-tree, Bud- 
dha taught in the Deer Park at Benares, beneath 
this sacred Bo-tree at Uruwela, or in the Bamboo 
Grove at Rajagriha during the rainy season ; and 
for the rest of the year wandered through Magadha, 
preaching the religion that has held sway over a 
great part of Asia for twenty-five centuries, and 
in corrupt form now holds more adherents than 
any other faith. Preaching the equality of men, he 
yet attracted disciples of high birth and station; 
and with no praises or reverence for women, voicing 
only the bitterest accusations and charges against 
the whole sex, women flocked to his teachings, and 
he established unwillingly, after much hesitation, 
the crowded orders of female mendicants. 

After these forty-four years of active proselytism 
and conversion, he announced that he was about to 
die. He was then in his eightieth year; and while 
begging his way toward Kapilavastu, he ate of some 
rice and young pork given him in his begging-bowl, 



120 WINTER INDIA 

and died that night beneath a bo-tree in a grove 
near Kusinagara — 543 b.c, if we accept the older 
Pali or Cingalese records of the southern Buddhists, 
400 B.C., or 478 B.C., according to the Sanskrit rec- 
ords. Then all nature mourned, and the Bo-tree, 
for the only time, shed its leaves. His remains were 
cremated on the spot where he died, and a great 
stupa raised by the Sakya clan over the one-eighth 
portion of the ashes and relics allotted them. The 
rest of the relics were distributed to seven centers 
of his docti'inal teachings, where similar monuments 
were raised. Excavations at Buddha-Gaya, Bhatti- 
prolu, and Piprawah have yielded relic-caskets 
containing these undoubted fragments of the body 
of Buddha, accompanied in every instance by stores 
of pearls and precious stones, gold-leaf ornaments 
in the form of swastikas, seals, and inscribed tablets. 
The soapstone, crystal, and beryl vases and cylin- 
ders containing these relics are admirable pieces of 
workmanship, but the only inscriptions dating from 
Gautama's lifetime now visible are those from the 
Piprawah mound, housed in the India Museum at 
Calcutta. 

The doctrines were preserved in oral versions, 
which were correctly chanted for months at a time 
by the priests participating in the First and Second 
Councils, held one hundred and two hundred years 
after his death. At the Third Council, called by the 
emperor Asoka in 244 B.C., a first record of the 
Orthodox Canon was written on palm leaves in 
Pali, the language of Magadha. A fourth council 
of Buddhists was held by the Scythian king Ka- 



THE PLACE OF GREAT INTELLIGENCE 123 

nishka in 1, or 40 a.d., and elaborate commentaries 
were written in Sanskrit and, it is said, engraved 
on copper plates and buried beneath a great stupa— 
a prize for archaeologists to search for, and for sen- 
sation-seekers to manufacture fraudulently. The 
separation between the Northern or Sanskrit school 
and the Pali or Southern school of Buddhists was 
definite then, and in 634 a.d. Iliouen Thsang, the 
Chinese priest, attended the great Sanskrit Council 
of Siladitya, when the Cingalese versions, the "Lit- 
tle Vehicle" of the Pali teachers, were formally 
condemned by the adherents of the Sanskrit "Great 
Vehicle." Hiouen Thsang acquired both languages, 
and studied both vehicles in monasteries in Kash- 
mir and Magadha, translated innumerable works 
into Chinese, and by his description of the sur- 
roundings, the monuments, the images, treasures, 
and relics of the sacred places, made the work of 
archogologists and historians comparatively easy — 
his descriptions as precise as those of a modern Bae- 
deker, his services comparable to those of Pausanias 
in classic Greece. A modern council of Buddhists 
was held in Ceylon in 1875, looking to the transla- 
tion, revision, and publication of the Cingalese and 
Pali texts, and a Pali Text Society has forwarded 
the effort to present these oldest Buddhist books to 
modern readers, Dr. Rhys Davids having done most 
to introduce Buddhist literature to English-speaking 
people. Dr. Max Mliller and many Continental 
scholars have given translations of the Sacred San- 
skrit books. 

It was a raw January morning, with the yellow 



124 



WINTER INDIA 



dust whirling in clouds, when I reached Gaya sta- 
tion on my pilgrimage to the Tree of Knowledge, 
and it was a cold, dull, prosaic drive of a mile in 
a rattling gharry to Gaya town and the dak bangla, 
where the government provides chill cheer for the 
few European travelers who ever rest there. One 




S1i5^^. 



elephant passed by on the station road, — a touch 
of the ancient East, the Hindu India, that did not 
accord with the background of barbed-wire fences, 
telegraph poles, and railway tracks, nor with the 
well-metaled highway of British India that the 
creature trod upon. A string of dusty brown 
camels filed across the neutral, dusty distance, and 
turbaned folk sped by in bullock-carts or gay 
ekhas, the native cabs, mere curtained canopies hung 
with balls and bells, and the ponies caparisoned to 
match, with high, peaked collars and blue bead neck- 
laces. 



THE PLACE OF GREAT INTELLIGENCE 125 

Modern Gaya, the Sahibs' market, is an orderly 
new town with broad thoroughfares and busy ba- 
zaars, the whitewashed houses, the tidy streets and 
drains betraying the infallible signs of model Brit- 
ish rule, prosperity, and eternal sanitation. It is 
distinct from the more ancient Brahm-Gaya, where 
huddled houses cut by narrow streets crowd around 
the great Brahman temple of the Vishnupad by the 
river bank, to which more than one hundred thou- 
sand Hindu pilgrims come to bathe and pray each 
year— a temple crowded with Buddhist sculptures 
and wreck from older temples. 

The dak bangla at Gaya stands in a great shady 
compound, %vhieh looks upon a busy part of a main 
street, a continuous panorama of half-clad and 
sheeted figures, of absurd ekkas and l5ullock-carts 
going by beyond the bangla lawn, as if drawn 
across a stage for one's delight. There is a well 
at one side of the compound, to which we watched 
all the neighbor folk come to fill their brass lotas 
or heavy, red earthen jars— half-veiled women, who 
needed help to lift the great weights and poise them 
on their heads, their slender, feeble figures bending 
under the weight. Others, balancing these great am- 
phorae with ease, passed out with the graceful, noble 
tread of goddesses, the living figures of a Greek frieze. 
On the bangla 's covered portico we were sheltered 
from the wind and dust, the sun shone warmly, and 
little parrakeets twittered and shrieked, flying about 
the lawn. We were so well entertained with this 
spectacle and play of Hindu life, that we sat for 
an hour— balanced ourselves, rather, for that space 



126 WINTER INDIA 

— on decrepit chairs which, rocking on uncertain legs, 
threatened momently to fall beneath us, if the torn 
and sagging rush seats did not sooner engulf us. 
" If the dak bangla's chairs were then as they are 
now, no wonder Buddha sat for six years under the 
Bo-tree," wrote the one American visitor of six 
seasons in the visitors' book. In time we ate an 
early and hurried tiffin — our daily goat-chop, gar- 
nished with green peas that rattled upon the plate 
like so much bird-shot, and the usual cold and sod- 
den Indian rice poured over with a blackish curry 
mixture diversified by pools of clear grease — the 
worst-made curry in the world, always served one 
at Indian hotels, dak banglas, and railway refresh- 
ment-rooms. ' * Chutney ? Chutney ? No ! ' ' came 
the regular Indian response of surprise when we 
asked for some palliative, some condiment to make 
the dish of the country go down protesting throats; 
but the khansamah boasted that he would be able 
to produce " a vary splendid dinner, with cauli- 
flower, mem," in the evening. 

The road southward for seven miles to Buddha- 
Gaya was broad, smooth, and well made, shaded 
with tamarisk- and bo-trees, strung along with lit- 
tle hamlets and mud huts, and following the banks 
of the Phalgu River. Each group of dwellings had 
its common well, and, under some wide-spreading 
tree, a plastered-up terrace or altar supported a 
tiny shrine, or the greasy image of a Hindu god, — 
this the same pagan, heathen India, the life little 
changed since the all-perfect Gautama Buddha used 
to pass this way in his yellow robes, with his golden 



THE PLACE OF GREAT INTELLIGENCE 129 

begging-bowl and a glory of six cubits height ex- 
tending around his head. Brown fields stretched 
on either hand ; brown hills bounded the view ; and 
narrow streams loitered here and there among the 
stones of the broad, sandy river-bed. A few bare- 
footed people moved by in silence, and the brown 
monotony, the comforting warmth of the hot midday 
sun, and the quivering heat-rays in the air, soon 
gave an eerie, unreal look to things, a strange, hazy, 
hypnotic effect, a sense of dreamy spell. 

"VVe turned from the Gaya road to a massive white 
gateway, where sheeted Brahmans and turbaned folk 
lay in leisured wait for us, and noble white bullocks 
rested beside tilted carts that had brought priestly 
visitors to this Sannyasi or Shivaite college of Bud- 
dha-Gaya. A much-marked Brahman, with the sa- 
cred white thread across his shoulder, led us off by 
a sandy path toward the pinnacle of a temple roof 
just showing beyond some tree- tops, when suddenly 
all Mahabodhi, the Place of Great Intelligence, was 
revealed to us. The sunken courtyard of the Sacred 
Bo-tree lay at our feet, and a great nine-storied, 
pyramidal temple soared one hundred and sixty feet 
in air, seemingly perfect in every line, from foun- 
dation-stone to the gilded pineapple pinnacle, — 
precisely the temple built in the second or in the 
sixth century, as may some time be agreed upon, 
but certainly the great temple that Hiouen Thsang 
saw. There was, at the first glance, nothing ruinous 
or hoary or venerable about the apparently well- 
preserved monument. The good repair was too dis- 
enchantingly obtrusive and conspicuous, and for sen- 



130 WINTER INDIA 

timent's sake one would almost rather have seen 
the temple crumbling and vine-grown in a rubbish- 
choked court, as it was in 1860. There was a chill- 
ing neatness and a forbidding order, too, about the 
crowded monuments, remains of monuments, and 
foundations of monuments in that flagged area 
thirty feet below us, which told of the archaeologist 
Avith his tape-measure, his numbers and labels, the 
restorer with his healing plaster and illusive cement. 
The view came so suddenly, there was such silence, 
with no moving object anywhere in sight, that it 
Avas as unreal as if a vast drop-curtain had blocked 
the path. The silence, too, was befitting the sacred 
place, the actual scene of the great penance and 
struggle, the illumining of the Light of Asia, the 
birthplace of India's noblest religious system, a 
place hallowed by the traditions and associations of 
twenty-five centuries of religious life. No other 
visitors, not a pilgrim nor a Avorshiper, came to that 
court for hours. Our melancholy Moslem servant, 
the big, sheeted Brahman, who knew as little as the 
Moslem of this treasure-spot, and the languid, lesser 
Brahman, more brainless still, A\-ere the only moving 
creatures in all that sunny space. The shrieks of 
little parakeets, as they flew AAdth flashes of emerald 
light in and out of the niches of the temple and the 
branches of the Sacred Bo-tree, were the only sounds 
in the melloAV, slumbering air, that same perfect 
midday atmosphere that belongs to the ideal days 
of the East Indian Avinter, as to the sun-ripe days 
of the American Indian summer. All the Avorld 
droAvsed in that golden calm— it was the ideal Ma- 
habodhi. 



THE PLACE OF GREAT INTELLIGENCE 131 

lu Hiouon Thsang's time buildinf?s and monu- 
ments were crowded together, almost touching for 
a mile and a half, all round the Sacred Tree. There 
remain only what one sees in the single glance at 
the sunken area ; save as archaeologists, digging here 
and there, have found the remnants of palace and 
temple and monastery walls, of cloisters and tanks 
and towers. Where we stood had been the great 
entrance of the monastery, where three thousand 
priests once lived, and treasures incalculable accu- 
mulated around an inner arcanum, whose solid gold 
statue was covered from foot to crown with jewel 
offerings. Instead of the great tower-capped walls 
stretching a thousand feet either w'ay, and the 
throngs of yellow-robed priests, there is a very mod- 
ern little galvanized iron pavilion sheltering a col- 
lection of broken images, sculptured and inscribed 
stones, salved from the pits and rubbish-heaps 
around, wreckage gathered after centuries of aban- 
donment and final IMohammedan vandalism. The 
most valuable and interesting stones have been sent 
to the Calcutta Museum, and some few to London. 
The guides, of course, knew next to nothing about 
these relics. '' General Cunningham put them 
there " — " General Cunningham vary high ess- 
teemed them," etc. The Brahman knew nothing of 
the history of the temple, the tree, or the place, and 
was perhaps the most aggravatingly disappointing 
of all his vampire tribe that fasten upon one in the 
show-places of India. Our gloomy and monosylla- 
bic Mohammedan— may all travelers in India be- 
ware of that professional traveling servant. Fog- 



132 WINTER INDIA 

lou Rahman!— knew far, far less. I had to cross- 
question, call for and demand to be shown this and 
that ; to poke and pry, push and insist and rack my 
memory for the very little it held of Fahien's or 
Hiouen Thsang's travels. "He duss-sunt know-ah. 
People never ask— just memsahib want to know," 
sighed the melancholy Moslem. 

"Where are the caves in the hills where the 
Buddha lived? Up there?" I asked, pointing. "Is 
there a cave there with carvings all over the walls ? ' ' 

The Brahman could not have looked blanker if 
I had asked for the Eiffel Tower, It took long con- 
sultation and visible guesswork by both Brahman 
and Foglou Rahman for them to answer: "Maybe 
there are some holes in the hills over there— but 
—he duss-sunt know, memsahib." One might hope 
for better things in the next incarnation of the 
twice-born Brahman blockhead, the long-descended 
Aryan decadent and degenerate— but for the Mos- 
lem there ought to be all that the wrath of the 
Prophet has promised to the unworthy. The ex- 
asperation of being there, of having eyes, yet almost 
seeing not, went far toward quelling any deep emo- 
tions and dissipating the spell of the place, the som- 
nolent calm, the soothing peace, the atmosphere 
almost as of Nirvana which brooded there, as we sat 
on the ancient stones and looked down upon the 
Place of Great Intelligence, the Veranda of and the 
veritable Tree of Knowledge. 




CHAPTER X 

THE SACRED BO-TREE 

HE broad stoue staircase which leads 
down to the court from the north 
commands the view of the temple and 
tree which uncounted thousands have 
drunk in with ecstasy, a place which 
has resounded for centuries with prayers and chants ; 
for Gautama Buddha said in his lifetime: "If any 
one look with a pleasant mind at a dagoba, or at the 
Court of the Bo-tree, he will undoubtedly be born in 
a dewa loka," ^ a pilgrimage to Buddha-Gaya being 
therefore a certain advance toward Nirvana. Aside 
from the historic and religious associations of this 
particular bo- or pipul-tree, the Ficus religiosa has a 
character and interest quite its own, the effect of 
its symmetrical growth and well-balanced foliage 
masses, heightened by the continual agitation of its 
brilliant, dark-green leaves. Even on that still after- 
noon each individual, heart-shaped leaf, with its long- 
drawn, tapering tendril tip, was trembling and spin- 
ning on its slender foot-stalk, until the whole tree 
mass was in agitation — every one of the myriad 

1 Deica loka is one of the six celestial worlds between 
earth and heaven. 

133 



134 WINTER INDIA 

glossy, green leaves flashing with a separate light as 
these thousands of perpetiially moving mirrors 
caught the sun. The restlessness and activity of these 
bo-leaves, vibrating and striking together with a tin- 
kling noise like the patter of soft raindrops on still 
nights, make the pipul the most grateful shade-tree, 
and the reflections of its glossy leaves suggest always 
the first stir of a rising breeze. This flashing, spar- 
kling, flickering play of light all over the tree gives 
the pipul its unique and individual character — some- 
thing like the dazzling, glittering trees that one sees 
in pictures by imperfect vitascope. The pipul trem- 
bles to this day in reverence for the one who became 
Buddha beneath its branches, and as symbol of the 
continual change and motion, the impermanency of 
the world. The pipul whispers to Rishaba,the Hindus 
say, every word it hears, for wiiich reason it is never 
planted in the bazaar where trade must employ the 
lie. Brahmans claim that Brahma planted the pipul- 
tree, and that Vishnu, who in his ninth avatar became 
Buddha, was born beneath a pipul-tree. The Hindu 
pilgrims, who come in such thousands every year 
to offer unleavened cakes and repeat mantras to 
this tree at Buddha-Gaya, before worshiping the 
print of Vishnu's footsteps at Brahm-Gaya, believe 
that a service beneath its branches will relieve their 
ancestors for one hundred generations back. 

The Bo-tree was always worshiped, swept around, 
sprinkled with milk and perfumes, and hung with 
offerings in the Buddha's lifetime, and he taught, 
from his seat beneath it, that he was but one of a 
series of Buddhas who appear on earth as faith 



THE SACRED BO-TREE 135 

wanes and the world needs purification; that his 
religious system would continue for five thousand 
years and then suffer extinction, when all relics, 
having lost honor and worshipers, would return to 
the foot of this same Bo-tree, and there, assuming 
the form of the Buddha 's body, be consumed in their 
own refulgence, as in a flame. Then a new Buddha 
shall come, Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of Kind- 
ness, who shall redeem the world by love and again 
show the way to Nirvana. 

To devout Buddhists the Sacred Bo-tree is the 
most sacred symbol and object in all the world, the 
living representative of Buddha himself, who dis- 
tinctly enjoined its worship. When the pilgrims, 
bringing flowers and perfumes and offerings to 
Sewet, failed to find him, Ananda suggested that 
some object be designated for them to worship in 
his absence, and Buddha said: *' The objects that 
are proper to receive worship are of three kinds. 
. . . In the last division is the tree at the foot 
of which I became Buddha. Therefore send to ob- 
tain a branch of that tree and set it in the court of 
this vihara. He who worships it will receive the 
same reward as if he worshiped me in person." 
When requested to honor this tree by sitting at the 
foot of it, Buddha said that when he sat under 
the tree at Cay a he became Buddha, and that "it 
was not meet he should sit in the same manner near 
any other tree." 

Buddhists regard the Bo-tree as too sacred to be 
touched or robbed of a leaf, and devout Burmese 
pilgrims kneel, fix their eyes upon it, and in a trance 



136 WINTER INDIA 

of prayer wait until a miraculous leaf detaches itself 
and flutters down. It seemed sacrilege when the 
Brahman snapped off a leaf and offered it to me 
with the universal Indian gesture of the begging 
palm, and, at a request for more, snatched off a 
whole handful of trembling green hearts, as ruth- 
lessly and brainlessly as the troop of monkeys in 
the bo-tree at Anuradhpura had done a few weeks 
before. 

Despite the reverently worded mantra with which 
his own people address the tree, this Brahman 
butcher, responsive to a single rupee, continued to 
snatch off and break away twig after twig until I 
had a great green bouquet of nearly one hundred 
living, quivering leaves of Buddhist prayer. With 
no seeming appreciation of the sacrilege, he said : 
" Some people are satisfied with just one leaf. They 
bow to it, pray to it, and carry it away in a gold 
box." Then he set himself down on the Vajrasana, 
the Diamond Throne, the Bodhi Manda, or Veranda 
of Knowledge, to yawn and scratch his lean arms 
as he adjusted his drapery. 

Three centuries after the death of the Buddha 
the emperor Asoka, grandson of that Asoka who 
drove the Greeks from India and who ruled from 
Kabul to the sea, began a relentless persecution of 
Buddhists. He ordered the Sacred Bo-tree cut 
down and burned ; but when two trees sprang unin- 
jured from the flames and a priest emerged un- 
harmed, the "raging Asoka" was humbled, con- 
verted. He built a wall around the tree, and marked 
the Great Teacher's seat by a carved stone altar 



THE SACRED BU-TREE 137 

or table— the Vajrasana, or Diamond Throne, the 
reputed center of the universe, the jewel that came 
up from the center of the earth to mark where 
Buddha sat when he attained perfect wisdom— 
Bodhi Manda, the Veranda of Knowledge. Asoka 
erected a small brick temple, made pilgrimages to 
every spot connected with the life of Buddha, and 
marked them by stupas, or inscribed columns. He 
summoned the Great Council, when the doctrines 
were first put in writing in the square Pali charac- 
ters of his day; he sent missionaries to all parts of 
the world, even despatching his own son as evangel- 
ist to Ceylon, and making his daughter bearer of 
the cutting of the Sacred Bo-tree sent to Anuradh- 
pura, 

Asoka 's wife became jealous of the sacred tree, 
and tried vainly to destroy it; persecuting rajas 
cut it down and filled the roots with fire ; but it 
sprang always to the same stature again. The Chi- 
nese pilgrims saw and described it ; the first English 
travelers found it green and vigorous, and it was 
perpetuated, of course, like its congener at Anuradh- 
pura, by the dropping of a seed in the fork or hol- 
low of the dying trunk. The archaeologists found in 
1861 that the tree was growing forty-five feet above 
the original level of the court, traces of sixteen suc- 
cessive cement platforms showing where that many 
trees had mounted upon the roots of preceding trees. 
That venerable pipul, with many dead branches and 
stumps, was blown over in 1876, and the stripling 
Bo-tree flourishing in its mold was carefully re- 
planted at the level of the earliest tree, and the 



13S WINTER INDIA 

Diamond Throne, a slab of polished sandstone, re- 
placed in its afternoon shade. There were unusual 
numbers of pilgrims for a few years, and the pious 
Burmese covered the stem and branches with so 
much gold leaf, poured so much milk, perfumery, 
cologne, oil, incense, tins of sardines, European food 
and confections around its roots, that it began to 
droop and die. General Cunningham put in a new 
tree in 1885, and surrounded it by a brick wall inlaid 
with old carved stones around the window openings 
on each side. A marble table or altar was erected 
by a pious Cingalese to receive the Burmese and 
Hindu offerings, and that sturdy tree glitters and 
grows magnificently. 

There was no building of any kind at Mahabodhi 
in the Buddha's lifetime, nor can any stone or in- 
scription be traced to his day. The First Council 
met in the great sculptured cave on the hillside, 
and it was not until the Third Council, 244 B.C., that 
Asoka erected a temple. Buddhism, having found 
its Constantine in the "sorrowless Asoka," remained 
the state religion throughout the great empire. 

The temple became a treasury of relics and riches. 
The window-frames and door-frames of gold and 
silver were set with gems, the Diamond Throne was 
heaped with all the jewels of the East, and, like the 
Jeweled Cloister, was literally what its name in- 
dicates. Archaeologists are not all agreed whether 
the present temple was built by the Scythian con- 
querors in the second century, or by a Brahman in 
the sixth century. Between the second and fourth 
centuries the priests had left Mahabodhi, and Bud- 



THE SACRED BO-TREE 139 

dhism was at such an ebb that Brahmans seized the 
temple, cast out the golden image, and installed their 
emblems in its place. "All was desolate and aban- 
doned" when Fahien arrived from China, 400 a.d. ; 
but, later, Hiouen Thsang saw and minutely de- 
scribed the great temple which stands to-day where 
stood "the chief of the eighty- four thousand shrines 
erected by Dharma Asoka, ruler of the earth at the 
close of the two hundred and eighteenth year of 
Buddha's Nirvana, upon the holy spot where our 
Lord tasted the milk and honey," as the inscribed 
stone declares. 

In all the romance of religion, nothing equals the 
vicissitudes and alternating fortunes of this sacred 
place; for, soon after Hiouen Thsang 's visit, Bud- 
dhism degenerated, the Brahmans again took over 
the sanctuary, and the monastery became a fort. 
In the sixteenth century of Buddhism, about 1000 
A.D., there was a revival and a reformation of the 
faith ; the temple was restored, and priests gathered 
in numbers. Again it fell away, and at the time 
of the Mohammedan conquest the Buddhists were 
persecuted like other infidels, and the ruins of their 
temples and monasteries tell how hundreds of priests 
met death by fire and sword in such asylums. In 
the fourteenth century the King of Burma sent an 
embassy to restore the temple, when a few Buddhist 
priests were found in the lonely place. 

Floods came and left their sand deposits in the 
court, brick and plaster crumbled, the jungle crept 
upon the open space, trees flourished in every piece 
of masonry, and Mahabodhi was without a history 



140 WINTER INDIA 

until a Shivaite mendicant wandered there in the 
first years of the eighteenth century, as the mendi- 
cant Gautama had come in his yellow robe so long 
before. He lived a hermit among the ruins, attract- 
ing other wanderers until he had a sufficient follow- 
ing to build a monastery by the river bank. Little 
heed was paid these pious squatters, but as their 
numbers increased the chief mahant obtained a 
firman from the emperor Shah Alum, confirming 
them in their ownership of the ground they had 
built upon. The sacred courtyard was the quarry 
for these builders, and they chose the most accessible 
stones — frequently those that were carved and in- 
scribed. 

The King of Burma sent missions to rebuild and 
restore the temple in 1805 and in 1831, and one 
of the Shivaite priests, who later guided Buchanan 
Hamilton around the ruins, claimed to have been con- 
verted by the Burmese visitors, and from their books 
to have been taught the history of each monument 
within the sacred court. The Archaeological Survey 
made examinations and excavations at Buddha-Gaya 
in 1861 and 1863, found the true level of the old 
court, and brought to light the Diamond Throne and 
the greater part of Asoka's rail. 

In 1877 another mission from the King of Burma 
obtained the consent of the Bengal government and 
of the mahant at Buddha-Gaya to restore the tem- 
ple. AVord reached Calcutta of the zeal with which 
these Burmese were razing and obliterating old 
structures and monuments, and Dr. Mitra was sent 
to investigate ; but the wreck and transformation of 



THE SACRED BO-TREE 141 

the temple court had gone too far for any interfer- 
ence to avail. The Burmese had demolished gate- 
ways, pavilions, and monuments, leveled ruin-heaps, 
swept away terraces and votive stupas, used carved 
stones for foundations or minor constructions; or, 
casting them recklessly on different rubbish-heaps, 
made it impossible to identify what Hiouen Thsang 
had so carefully described. 

In 1879 General Cunningham, chief of the Ar- 
chieological Survey, cleared out the entire temple 
court of the sand and rubbish of ages, completely 
restored the temple within and without, and rebuilt 
the portico over the east entrance door and the four 
corner pavilions. A miniature stone temple found 
in excavating, and repeated in bas-reliefs and 
Buddhist sculptures everywhere from Amraoti to 
Gandhara, and at many places in Burma, gave the 
model for the restorations. Every measurement now 
corresponds precisely to the Chinese priest 's account, 
and the temple lacks only the hundreds of gilded 
images in the tiers of niches that mount to the gilded 
amalika at the summit. The temple stands exactly 
over the site of Asoka's temple, and the original 
floor and altar are uncovered. A ball of clay in an 
altar niche contained a rich treasure — bits of gold 
leaf and beaten gold in the form of flowers and 
stars, pearls, rough sapphires and rubies, bits of 
beryl, jade, agate, and crystal. Even the plaster 
of this altar was composed of pounded coral, pearl, 
ivory, and precious stones mixed with lime. A 
similar treasure was found in a vase beneath the im- 
age niched in the outer temple wall; and all these 



142 WINTER INDIA 

relics are now to be seen in the India Museum at 
Calcutta, together with tablets bearing Chinese in- 
scriptions and scores of terra-cotta lamps, seals, and 
votive tablets molded within the outlines of a bo- 
leaf. 

Of the Jeweled Cloister— that long pavilion cov- 
ering the path where Buddha paced to and fro and 
flowers sprang up as he trod, whose carved columns 
were hung with garlands of flowers and strings of 
jewels and half incased in silver and gold— only 
fragments remain to ],nark the position and extent. 
Asoka's carved sandstone rail, "the oldest sculp- 
tured monument in India," has been carefully re- 
placed, as far as possible, and in long stretches 
shows us that curious carpenter's arrangement of 
mortised posts and rails and carved rosette orna- 
ments over each joint and cross-piece. The great 
pillars and cross-beams of the toran gateway, precur- 
sor of the Chinese pailow and the Japanese torii, 
have been raised before the entrance, but too much 
of it is missing to tell whether it was as splendid 
and monumental as the toran of Sanchi which Asoka 
later began erecting. Twenty posts and many ro- 
settes of the carved rail had been built into the walls 
and courts of the mahants' college, and no amount 
of persuasion could induce the heathens to restore 
them to the temple court. 

All about the Bo-tree, the Diamond Throne, the 
Cloister, and the temple doorway, the stones were 
daubed with gold-leaf and ocher. The Brahman 
guide was just able to tell that these yellow smears 
were the offerings of pious Burmese, but to any 



THE SACRED BO-TREE 145 

further qiiostions concerning the Burmese and their 
intermittent gilding the Bralmian returned a dumb 
stare. He led us up into the temple, through an 
archway in a wall twenty feet thick, to a square 
whitewashed cell, and up to a second chilly, white 
vault where the light fell through a triangular east 
window full upon the image on the carved basalt 
altar. It was a tawdry, gilded image, more asleep 
than serenely meditating, with a Hindu caste-mark 
on its brow— "Buddha's mother!" said the Brah- 
man, For further shock and disillusionment, it was 
only necessary to note that the image was attired 
in a red merino petticoat and a tinsel-bordered cape 
—"to keep the image warm," said the Brahman, 
winding his grimy sheet more closely around him 
in that chill sanctuary. There was a litter of food 
and flower, incense and candle offerings on the altar 
in true Burmese fashion, scores of Tibetan flags and 
streamers in the corners of the room, while old Bud- 
dhist bas-reliefs built into the wall were buttered 
and garlanded in the Hindu manner — a medley of 
religions in the one shrine. It was hard to believe 
that this untidy vault, this religious lumber-room, 
was the supreme shrine, the ark, the tabernacle, the 
lioly of holies. It was harder to realize that the 
stone image, the shabby old "Buddha's mother," 
all daubed with gold-leaf, successor to innumerable 
images of gold, perfumed paste, basalt, sandstone, 
and stucco— this clumsy image, with its stolid, va- 
cant face, was intended for the same beautiful, pas- 
sionless Teacher who meditates, steeped in the peace 
of eternal Nirvana, in the gilded temples of Japan 
or beneath Kamakura's pine-trees. 



146 WINTER INDIA 

The Brahman had little interest in the big Bur- 
mese bells by the temple door, in the venerable stat- 
ues, or in the sacred sites. Whether this place was 
the cloistered flower-tank or the lotus-pond, or only 
where Buddha washed his robe or his bowl, he cared 
not; but he showed us insistently the cylindrical 
monument to the first mahant of the Shivaite mon- 
astery, who there performed the great penance, or 
rather feat, of "the five fires." To attain great 
spiritual reward, this sacred salamander sat be- 
tween four fires, with the midsummer sun overhead, 
and survived to enjoy the expected sanctity. An- 
other monument marked where one of the fraternity 
had been devoured by a tiger while at prayer, and 
the Brahman could not understand our affected de- 
pression when he had assured us and reassured us 
that the tigers did not come to the courtyard now— 
"not eat the priests any more, surely, truly, mem- 
sahib. Be not uneasy." 

The Brahman boasted of the number of pilgrims 
who came to Buddha-Gaya— "from everywhere!— 
from Colombo, Rangoon, Tibet-ty, China, Japan ! — 
oh, from everywhere! Now is there a Japanese 
over there at the palace," pointing toward the mon- 
astery by the river bank. He led us to the mahants ' 
college, and through a labyrinth of stone courts, 
where scores of Shivaite priests lounged and loafed 
over their bowls and messes of food, and across a gar- 
den full of little Burmese pagodas, to the rest-house 
built for resting Burmese by King Mindon Min. The 
Brahman routed out a languid creature in loose 
garments with yards of a pale pink sarong wobbling 



THE SACRED BO-TREE 147 

between his knees, a short white jacket fastened 
closely at the neck, and a topknot of hair under a 
cap. A queer-looking Japanese, surely. 

' ' Where are you from ? " we asked. 

'* Rangoon!" drawled the ghostly Maung Some- 
body, and when we protested to the Brahman that 
he had deceived us with a mere every-day, near-by 
Burmese, he said: "Oh! Burmese, Japanese, just 
the same. Their country is a long way off, but they 
all come to Buddha-Gaya." 

The shadows were lengthening and palms and pi- 
puls were rustling in the afternoon wind, but even 
after hours spent in Mahabodhi there was something 
wanting, something inharmonious in one's general 
impression. The temple was too well preserved, and 
proclaimed too loudly the plumb-line and the trow- 
el's work. Sentiment and day-dreams could not 
play upon those precise angles and sharp edges. 
And the Tree of Knowledge ! as trim, compact and 
shapely as a California orange-tree, with squawking 
parrots flashing in and out of its flickering foliage, 
as if it were but a common tree for birds to perch 
upon ! There was too much of shock and disillusion- 
ment at Mahabodhi ; too much of the garish every 
day; a lack of romance and mystery, and of any 
real sense of antiquity and of chance for imagi- 
nation. 

We drove back with our treasure of sacred leaves, 
and saw the busy bazaars of Gaya before a salmon 
and saffron sunset of blinding glory held us at the 
dak bangla's gate, while the blind beggar wailed by 
the roadside, the women went to and fro with their 



148 WINTER INDIA 

water- jars, the parrakeets flew shrieking among the 
tamarind-trees before they settled for the night, and 
our lank Moslem knelt and bent to the ground in 
repeated prayers to the Mecca beyond the sunset. 

When we went to the midnight train that was to 
take us away, a raja and his suite were just arriving 
from Bankipur. There was hurry and excitement, 
a rushing to and fro of richly dressed attendants, 
and much glitter and splendor and flash of color, 
as the torch-bearers led the raja in his jeweled tur- 
ban to the loAV dhoolie suspended from a curved 
silver yoke, and, lifting it, bore him out into the 
night. The voices of his followers died away as the 
flicker of the torches was finally lost down the road, 
but the last impression of Gay a was of that raja 
sitting cross-legged, like a god, in his silver and vel- 
vet car, departing by torch-light to some palace, 
whence he would issue before sunrise to bathe in the 
Phalgu, to worship the Bo-tree and the Vishnupad — 
all living traces of the great religion obliterated, 
like Gautama's own footprints in that dusty road; 
the Light of Asia forever extinguished on the spot 
where it first rose upon the world; the great temple 
and the Sacred Bo-tree drowsing, neglected, in the 
sunshine of an empty, lifeless court; the temple of 
a sleeping Buddha, of a dead religion, everything 
turned to stone, when there have passed but half of 
those five thousand years that the Master declared 
his religion would endure, an annihilation greater 
and more complete than Nirvana already come to 
the faith in its birthplace. 




CHAPTER XI 

THE GREATEST SIGHT IN THE WORLD 

|T Mogul Sarai junction, three Eng- 
lishmen stood over as many hillocks of 
leather- and tin-covered luggage, direct- 
ing its removal to the Benares train. 
The servants bore it off and flung it 
through doors and windows, covering the floor, heap- 
ing the seats, filling all the racks and hooks, until 
the owners themselves, looking in, said: "Oh, I 
say, now. There is no room left for us. We had 
best sit in this next carriage, where we can watch 
them." When I spoke of this dilemma of the men 
and their luggage to others of their nationality, 
they said bewilderedly : ' ' For the life of me, I do 
not see why you Americans should laugh at that. 
I thought you always traveled with so much luggage. 
Those enormous trunks— Saratogas, you call them." 
It argued nothing to them, no matter how much we 
explained it, that we sent the Saratogas to the bag- 
gage-car and never sat with malodorous sole-leather 
heaped around us in our richly finished and fur- 
nished cars. 

We crossed a muddy river by a high bridge with 
fortress turrets at either end— the very bridge of 
"Voices in the Night"— and were then in the usual 

149 



150 WINTER INDIA 

glaring, sun-baked European suburb, wliere broad 
roads and waste spaces, new houses in large grounds, 
and dusty lines of banian-trees certainly did not go 
to make up the Benares of one's dreams. The hotel 
was more like the hotels of Java, the dining-room in 
a central building by itself, and long rows of bed- 
rooms in adjacent buildings. Peddlers, guides, jug- 
glers, and snake-charmers haunted the long, flagged 
porches all the afternoon. Cobras were drawn out 
from small, round baskets like so many yards of sau- 
sage, and made to dance on their tails to plaintive 
pipings, and then crowded back into their baskets 
with as little ceremony ; and a weary little mongoose 
was shaken and cuffed and made to battle with the 
hooded horror. 

Chaturgam Lai, in a flowered and cotton-wadded 
chintz overcoat, a w^orsted comforter around his 
neck, large spectacles under a fat turban, the caste- 
mark freshly painted on his brow, and an unctuous 
smile set for the day, rapped on our door long 
before dawn. We looked out to see a long line of 
sleeping bearers on the brick-floored portico, each 
before his master 's door, every turban-topped bundle 
rolled in a stripped dhurrie with a pair of bare 
brown legs protruding. The air was keen and frosty, 
and I wondered if any estate on earth, any future 
reincarnation, could be more replete with bodily 
misery and discomfort than the regular life of an 
Indian bearer or traveling servant— sleeping on cold 
stone porches, snatching bits of food at irregular 
hours, traveling all day and all night, and as often 
standing for hours in the crowded compartments. 



THE GREATEST SIGHT IN THE WORLD 153 

The greatest human spectacle in India, the chief 
incident and motive of Benares life, and the most 
extraordinary manifestation of religious zeal and 
superstition in all the world, begins at sunrise by the 
Ganges bank and lasts for several hours. We started 
in the first gray light of the dawn, drove two miles 
across the city, and, descending the ghats, or broad 
staircases, to the water's edge, were rowed slowly 
up and down the three-mile crescent of river-front, 
watching Brahmans and humbler believers bathe 
and pray to the rising sun, repeating the oldest Ve- 
dic hymns. That picturesque sweep of the city front 
—a high cliff with palaces, temples, and gardens 
clinging to its terraced embankments and long 
flights of steps descending to the water— is spectacle 
enough when lighted by the first yellow flash of 
sunlight, without the thousands of white-clad wor- 
shipers at the Ganges brink and far out in its tur- 
bid flood. After three sunrise visits to the river 
bank, the spectacle was as amazing and incompre- 
hensible as at first, as incredible, as dreamlike, as the 
afternoon memory of it. I saw it with equal surprise 
each time, the key-note, the soul of India revealed in 
Benares as nowhere else,— since all India flocks to 
Benares in sickness and health, in trouble and re- 
joicing, to pray and to commit crimes, the sacred 
city being the meeting-place and hiding-place of all 
criminals, the hatching-place of all conspiracies. 

We sped through empty cantonment streets, but 
in the native city every thoroughfare was crowded. 
All were streaming one way, and a hum of voices 
filled the air as we reached the ghats and came upon 



154 WINTER INDIA 

sight of the multitude standing waist-deep in the 
sacred stream or crouching on platforms built out 
over the water. From twenty-five to fifty thousand 
people regularly — on special occasions one hun- 
dred thousand bathers and worshipers, Brahmans 
and believers of every caste— perform their daily 
rites in the Ganges, They are so rapt, ecstatic, bent 
on and absorbed in the mechanical formula, the 
endless minutiee of their worship, that they are 
unconscious of the few curious strangers who may 
drift up and down the river-front in the brief tour- 
ist season. A Brahman cannot let eye or mind wan- 
der for one moment lest, omitting something, or 
changing the order of invocation, prayers, and move- 
ments, he should have to begin the long ritual afresh. 
The daily religious observances should occupy nearly 
twelve hours, so that a repetition is something of a 
penance. 

The lowlands across the river were veiled in haze 
as, seated in our comfortable arm-chairs on the boat's 
deck, we floated olf into the stream. Just as the 
sun's disk rose above the hazy, blue plain, a louder 
murmur arose, a general chant, the measured re- 
sponses of a great congregation. Each one stand- 
ing in the stream lifted up an offering of water, 
tossed a handful three times in the air, dipped 
the body beneath the surface, repeating the while 
the sacred mantras, the ancient Vedic hymns, the 
names of the gods, and the sacred syllable "Om." 
They sipped handfuls of the holy water, rinsed 
their mouths, lifted the water and let it stream 
through their fingers or pour back down the arm, 



THE GREATEST SIGHT IN THE WORLD 155 

facing always to the (>ast, and moving their lips 
in prayer. They tilled their water-jars and poured 
it over their heads, and they drank it "to purify 
themselves," our mentor said, although one group 
of purity-seekers stood two feet from the mouth 
of a rapidly discharging sewer, every sort of city 
filth floating to their hands and water-jars, the 
bodies of men and animals and decaying flowers 
floating by. They drank the pestilent fluid, they 
carried it home for household use, and bottles were 
being filled to be sent and carried to the remotest 
parts of India. Western education and sanitary 
science avail nothing against the Ganges supersti- 
tion. The British have provided a pure water sup- 
ply for Benares, but the people prefer the sacred 
dilution of sewerage and cremation-ground refuse, 
thus inviting and encouraging every disease. 

Whole platforms of Brahmans went through their 
morning ceremonies before us as if on a theater 
stage. Some sat with fixed or upraised eyes, some 
with eyes closed— all absorbed, as if in hypnotic 
trance, slowly whispering and muttering their 
prayers, lost in contemplation of their fingers, sym- 
bols of difllerent gods, dipping each one in the river 
many times and praying to it fervently as the water 
trickled off. They dipped wisps of grass in the 
river and contemplated them prayerfully, meditat- 
ing on the one hundred and eight manifestations 
of Shiva, the ten hundred and eight manifestations 
of Vishnu. They emptied their jars by rule; they 
prayed, touching their arms, breasts, knees in slow 
callisthenics as they vowed themselves to one and an- 

9 



156 WINTER INDIA 

other of the pantheon ; they produced boxes of ashes 
of sacred cow-dung and painted their foreheads 
and smeared their arms and breasts for the day. 
Others, standing in the stream, drew in deep breaths, 
closed first one nostril, then the other, and then held 
both nostrils with the fingers for uncounted seconds. 
"They hold the nose so. It is a prayer. It is a 
ceremony," said Chaturgam Lai, beaming with 
proud omniscience. "Sometimes they pray with the 
right nose, sometimes with the left nose. ' ' 

There were some serious and thorough ablutions 
going on also, vigorous scrubbings and tubbings that 
were good imitations of the Anglo-Indian form of 
godliness. Men waded out to their shoulders, re- 
moved their garments, and washed them in the holy 
water, assuming dry garments as they dropped the 
wet ones at the steps. Others energetically sham- 
pooed their heads with river mud, for soap is im- 
pure to their notion. Women came down to the 
river's edge, scoured their brass jars, rinsed, filled 
them, and walked away in never-ending processions 
upon the broad steps. Even babus in gold specta- 
cles and worsted comforters carried off jars of water 
to pour over some chosen image. The high-caste 
women had bathed and gone before sunrise, the 
wives of rajas and potentates rowed off in cur- 
tained boats to bathe and pray far from the com- 
mon horde. The women specially congregate at one 
ghat, barely uncovering their faces to the rising 
sun, and gracefully and ingeniously draping the 
fresh sari over the wet one as they reach the steps 
again. "These are nearly all widows," said our 



THE GREATEST SIGHT IN THE WORLD 157 

guide, condescendingly; and certainly no people in 
the world have more need to implore divine aid 
than these Indian widows, accursed things who, as 
they themselves and all others believe, have brought 
the calamity of death upon their husbands. 

And then there were the fakirs; the real things 
of one's Sunday-school books, ragged, unkempt, ash- 
smeared objects that seemed hardly human, sitting 
rigid in their insane, consequential sanctity. Some 
were so utterly absurd and ridiculous with their 
fantastic ash powderings, that the young American 
boy on our boat vented peal after peal of laughter 
that continued to tears as one ash-heap, crouched 
like Humpty Dumpty on a sunny wall, mouthed and 
gibbered back at him spitefully. There were lean 
old fakirs, mere wrinkles of skin laid loosely over 
some bones, and strapping young fakirs, whom the 
police should move on or put to road-making. One 
able-bodied specimen of lazy holiness sat with 
clenched hand and uplifted arm, wearing the most 
consciously self-righteous air; another posed like a 
dirty salt image on a broken stone pedestal at a cor- 
ner of the ghat ; and a row of toothless old relics sat 
in their dirt and ashes waiting for certain Brahman 
princes to come along, as in a stage tableau, and 
distribute daily alms of rice— "to acquire merit." 
Each whining, mumbling old fakir held out his 
hands, his begging-bowl, or a dirty end of rag dra- 
pery, the almoner doled out a few spoonfuls of cheap 
rice, and the rich man moved on to a chorus of bless- 
ings, conspicuously well pleased with himself and 
the increased assets of acquired merit — precisely the 



158 WINTER INDIA 

Pharisee of Judea. There are more than two mil- 
lion fakirs in India, all leading lives of leisure and 
comparative plent}^; but the prize fakir of them 
all on the Ganges bank was surely the well-fed and 
plumped out one who had all his bones painted in 
white outline on his brown skin, and sat comfort- 
ably in the sun, waiting for his breakfast to come to 
him — a living skeleton of the impressionist school. 
There was finally a dead fakir, propped up against a 
wall, covered with flower garlands, and soon to be 
richly spiced and committed to the Ganges, since 
fire is not needed to purify such holy men. 

At sunrise the ghouls of the cremation-ground 
or burning-ghat began heaping funeral piles for the 
day's work, and others of this lowest caste were 
carrying yesterday's ashes to the water's edge, 
washing them in sieves and pans like any placer- 
miner to recover the gold, silver, and jewels burned 
with the bodies. The domri, who conduct crema- 
tions, surpass the Occidental undertakers in their ex- 
tortionate charges— for firewood, oil, and the flam- 
ing brand for starting the blaze. Shrouded and 
flower-decked bodies, lashed to litters of poles, were 
borne down the steps and laid at the water's edge, 
the feet resting in the sacred river while the pyre 
was made ready and the relatives paid the domri 
and paid for prayers by the "Sons of the Ganges"— 
a legion of fat priests shouting under great umbrel- 
las—brigand Brahmans of the river bank, no less 
mercenary and rapacious than the outcast domri, 
A dead woman shrouded in white and roped over 
with marigold chains was laid whore the foul waters 



THE GREATEST SIGHT IN THE WORLD 161 

could lave the feet, a sewer arch discharging but 
a yard away, and the evil doniri panning out their 
treasure close by. When the pyre was ready, the 
body was completely immersed for a moment, car- 
ried up and laid on the fagots, and a sobbing, fright- 
ened little boy, his tunic wet in Ganges water, laid 
sandalwood and spices on his mother's body, ran 
five times around the pile as priests and relatives 
pushed and pulled him through his part, and, 
touching the torch to the oil-drenched fagots, ran 
shrieking to a servant's arms. The flames leaped 
and crackled, jets of thick smoke curled around, 
the fire lapped over the edges of the grave-clothes, 
and smoke mercifully concealed the rest. The domri 
stood by with long irons arranging the fire, adding 
wood and oil, while the family group waited there 
until all should be consumed. A prisoner's body 
from the jail was laid by the sewer's mouth, and in- 
stead of being burned in the later, cheaper hours of 
the afternoon, was to be cremated at once at the ex- 
pense of a rich Brahman, who waited to commit the 
ashes to the river and thereby ''acquire merit." 

At the near-by ghat a boy's body had been laid on 
the lowest step, and without cover or shroud, clothed 
as in life, his relatives wailed and dashed Ganges 
water over him. He had probably died within the 
hour. He might even have been gasping as they hur- 
ried him through the streets to be burned and com- 
mitted to the Ganges before noon. The body was 
not yet rigid as the relatives poured and sprinkled 
water over the graceful young statue, wrapped it in 
a Ganges-soaked sheet, fastened it to a litter of 



162 WINTER INDIA 

boughs, and bore it off to the burning-ghat. The 
group of women remained behind, and standing in 
a circle facing inward, wailed and tossed their arms. 
Some were dry-eyed and watched us while they 
wailed and beat their breasts, but the mother was 
unmistakable in the group — her cries and gestures 
in pathetic contrast to those of the others. 

When we had twice gone the length of the ghats, 
drifting down to the railroad bridge and rowing 
back to the upper ghats, reviewing seven miles 
of bathing, praying, misguided people, we landed 
where the crowds were thickest, the din loudest. 
The well filled with Vishnu's perspiration, and in 
which Devi dropped her ear-jewel, and the stone foot- 
print of Vishnu make this spot the center of busiest 
religious life on the river bank. There priests and 
people swarmed thickest, all bellowing the history of 
the pool in one's ears; and the sick and the well, the 
diseased and the robust, crowded the inclosing steps 
of this tank of filth, an abominable ooze of Ganges 
slime, decaying flowers, spices, sweetmeats, butter, 
and milk. They sipped and drank this liquid death, 
and we hastened from the noisy crowd of priests, 
pilgrims, fakirs, beggars, Brahmans, jugglers, snake- 
charmers, money-changers, and idlers with sacred 
cows wearing bead and flower necklaces, pushing 
their way when it was not obsequiously cleared for 
them. 

Processions of people carrying water to their 
homes and the temples, and spilling it as they went, 
made walking dangerously slippery, and we barely 
looked into the court of the Golden Temple, where 



THE GREATEST SIGHT IN THE WORLD 163 

worshipers crowded to jangle the bells, sprinkle 
grease, and garland the images. The courtyard of 
the Well of Knowledge, in which Shiva resides, was 
so offensive that we had no wish to approach the 
curb and see the pit of decaying food, flowers, in- 
cense, milk, and butter. We took a peep at the 
Temple of the Stick, where sugar dogs are the ac- 
ceptable offering, and a greedy Brahman whips re- 
pentent sinners and then grants them absolution and 
indulgence— whips them with peacock feathers — 
even gives the unbeliever a swish of the feathers 
for two annas and laughs with him at the deluded 
divinity he serves ! 

It was then ten o'clock, and after four hours in 
the headquarters of heathendom we were glad to 
return to the quiet, empty spaces of the cantonment, 
realizing more than before what an appalling task 
confronts the missionaries, and what generations of 
such blindly bigoted Ganges worshipers must pass 
away before any change can be hoped for. A cen- 
tury of British law, order, cleanliness, and sanitary 
improvement avails nothing against the superstitions 
and practices of twenty-five centuries. Yet in this 
same center of bigotry and superstition Gautama 
Buddha won the people from their idolatry, their 
superstitions and caste creed, and for eight hundred 
years his doctrines prevailed. With this precedent, 
the ultimate conversion of the Hindus need not be 
despaired of. We drove out that afternoon by a 
dusty, tamarind-shaded road to Sarnath, the Deer 
Park of Benares, where the Buddha preached, de- 
fied the Brahmans, and built up his great following. 



164 WINTER INDIA 

Only a few ruins remain of the great group of build- 
ings, the crumbling tope in a deserted common the 
only object above ground described by Fahien and 
Hiouen Thsang. "Did Sarnath pay?" asked my 
table d'hote neighbor that night, and I stammered 
for an answer. "Because," she said, "they told 
us there was nothing to see, that it would n't pay 
us to drive out there just to see some rubbishy old 
stones and brick heaps. ' ' 



CHAPTER XII 



BENARES 




)iT did not seem possible that the Ganges 
I banks could ever show such another sight ; 
yet a second and a third morning we 
rose by starlight, drove through streets 
all blue and lilac with frost haze, to 
the ghats where the rising sun again glorified the 
whole fantastic, picturesque line; turning adobe, 
sandstone and grimy whitewashed buildings into 
the richest temples and palaces of dreams, and 
lighting the faces of the thousands of believers 
standing in the swirling mud stream, as thousands 
have stood at sunrise for centuries. Even then, 
one can figure it out that many thousands shirk 
their religious duties— a cheering sign in a way— for, 
if the two thousand temples of Benares with their 
five hundred thousand idols are tended by eighty 
thousand priests, the sacerdotal company alone would 
exceed the crowds we saw on any one morning. The 
priests are supposed to be driven all day, to have 
time for nothing but sacred observances, the bath- 
ing, buttering, garlanding, tiring, fanning, and 
tending of the idols, and always to begin the day 
with the dip in the Ganges. Many of them surely 

165 



1G6 WINTER INDIA 

omit it on these frosty niorniiigs. While the mum- 
mery goes on in the temples, the babus and pundits, 
even those who have taken degrees in Western uni- 
versities, insist that this worship is not idolatry, 
that these images of Vishnu, Shiva, Parvati, Krishna, 
Ganesha, and the rest, the stone bulls, the sacred 
cows, sacred wells, and sacred monkeys, are but sym- 
bols — symbols of the purest and simplest creed, of 
the noblest faith, the highest philosophy— a sym- 
bolism that the masses of course recognize. One 
has all of a Mohammedan's impatience and con- 
tempt for the puerilities, the grossness, the unrea- 
sonable imbecility of it all. 

One remembers the Scala Santa in Rome, the 
scenes at Assisi and Lourdes, when he sees fakirs 
and fanatics making the rounds of all the shrines 
of Benares on their knees, and measuring with their 
bodies the fifty miles of sacred road that sweeps in 
a semicircle around the suburbs of the holy city of 
the Brahman's soul, known to the pious Hindu as 
Kasi the Magnificent — a city which rests, not on 
the earth, but on the point of Shiva's trident. 

The bazaars of Benares, particularly the noisy 
brass bazaar, are picturesque in a general way, but 
the wares exposed are the coarsest and crudest that 
the debased taste and careless hand of the day can 
produce. Heavy, ill-shapen, vulgar brass pieces 
scratched over with thin and poor designs replace 
the deeply cut and finely chased brass-work that 
used to distinguish Benares. But the glint and glow 
and color of the base metal in its myriad forms make 
of the narrow street of brass-beaters' dens a long 



BENARES 167 

genre picture. The fruit and flower bazaar carries 
on the dominant, decorative yellow note, and the 
orange of marigolds blends well with the rich reds 
of earthenware in the pottery bazaar, where the 
lotas and chatties have preserved the same lines from 
earliest times recorded in sculptures. The kincobs, or 
gold brocades, of Benares are tawdry and tinselly 
past belief, commonplace in design and color. 

If anything could further disenchant one with 
Hindu forms of worship, it is provided at the tem- 
ple of Durga, the Monkey Temple. One steps into 
a red sandstone and pink stucco court, where priests 
wait for gifts and gray apes with red faces sit in 
rows on the parapets, cornice, and roof, swarm 
up and down columns, drop noiselessly beside one 
and stretch long, lean, gray arms over his shoulder 
and clutch at his garments. The big apes chatter 
and mouth and make faces, and the little ones run 
screaming to safety, for when gift cakes are im- 
pending, the big apes are violent. The priests seem 
little more intelligent than the other sacred servi- 
tors, and as more and more apes drop noiselessly to 
the crowded pavement the tourist turns and flees. 

I had unceasingly demanded the great mahatma, 
a certain holy man and miracle-worker who was re- 
ported as living in some palace garden of Benares, 
and but a little way beyond the Monkey Temple. 
We left the carriage, disputed passage with a sacred 
cow in a narrow lane, and found the green paradise 
of the Annanbag Garden, where dwelt Swamji, the 
living god. This aged seer and sage, a Brahman of 
so high a caste and sphere that no touch or deed can 



168 WINTER INDIA 

defile him, to whom no sin is possible, sits in his gar- 
den, ' ' air clad, ' ' summer and winter alike, indifferent 
to heat and cold, hunger and thirst, feeling neither 
joy nor sorrow, a soul uplifted beyond all further 
test or trial. He sits there imparting wisdom to 
his disciples and followers, as Gautama Buddha 
taught once in the Deer Park, presenting the same 
old unchanging picture of religious life in the East. 
Like the Prince Siddhartha, Swamji left home and 
wife upon the birth of a son. His duty to the 
world was then done, and all the years since have 
been given to study, meditation, and the welfare 
of his soul, learning the great yoga mysteries and 
passing continually to higher stages. Two disciples 
early attached themselves to him, begged for him, 
and devoutly served him, accompanying the holy 
man on his pilgrimages to sacred places, and finally 
to his home, where with tearless indifference he 
learned of the death of his son, and addressing 
words of wisdom to his parents and wife, passed on. 
AVithout money, with only a shred of clothing, and 
no care for the morrow, he traveled all India, and, 
preserved through heat and snow, flood, storm, cold, 
hunger, and sickness, he came finally to Benares 
when he felt that he had attained supreme wisdom 
and triumphed over the world. A pious raja put 
the beautiful Annanbag (Garden of Happiness) at 
his disposal, and, dropping the one bit of raiment, 
his last earthly possession, Paribrajakacharya Sri 
Bhaskarananda Saraswati Swamji lives, air clad, 
in the same state of nature as primeval man, 
sitting beneath the trees by day discoursing to the 



BENARES 171 

circle of disciples, sleeping uncovered on the bare 
earth at night, and eating only the offerings of fruit 
and rice which his devotees bring him. A jeweled 
youth with a great caste-mark on his brow was sit- 
ting with the holy man when we were announced 
by Chaturgam Lai and the favor of an audience 
asked; and the worshiping youth threw his own 
silky white chudda around the saint as we ad- 
vanced down the garden path. The holy man sat 
there with knees bent, soles turned upward, and 
hand lifted in precisely the attitude of the Bud- 
dha in art. Birds twittered and the rustling trees 
overhead cast checkered shadows on the lean and 
wrinkled old ascetic beneath. He had a kindly face, 
a gentle, benevolent manner; he was very gracious, 
courteous, and human, and the living god began at 
once to talk of the impermanence of the world, of the 
delusions and fleeting joys of which we mistakenly 
make so much. His richly turbaned native visitors 
soon forgot our interruption, listening with rapt 
attention, and each one bowed reverently whenever 
the saint 's eyes were directly turned in his direction. 
At Swamji's request, a disciple led us to a little 
marble shrine in the garden to see a portrait statue 
of the holy man, for this living god is worshiped 
in the flesh and in the image, there and in other 
cities. 

When we returned to the teacher, he had evi- 
dently had more information concerning us from the 
omniscient Chaturgam Lai. ''You write books," 
said the living god. "So do I. My books are com- 
mentaries on the Vedas and encouragements to the 



172 WINTER INDIA 

true religious life. I like your spirit. I will give 
you my book. And you shall learn Sanskrit and 
read it. You will give me your book. I already 
know English." 

"You are yogi, you are mahatma. You are all- 
knowing and can perform miracles. Can you see 
to America and tell me what happens there?" I 
asked, "you can read my mind." 

The smile faded from the venerable face. He 
looked pityingly, kindly at me. "No, my daughter. 
No one in India can see to America. Put away care. 
Do not think sorrow. Do not think money." And 
the renowned seer of seers, sage of sages, the living 
god, the Brahman above caste laid his hand in bless- 
ing like any noble old bishop. We spent a charming 
half-hour under the Annanbag trees, eating the 
saint's oranges, talking with him and his visitors 
as at any garden tea. When we were leaving, the 
saint threw over our shoulders the jasmine garlands 
his worshipers had laid at his feet, wound the bor- 
rowed chudda around him, and, rising, stalked with 
the swaying gait of extreme age to the gateway. 
He shook hands with us fearlessly and convention- 
ally, for he was beyond defilement, and urged us to 
come again and talk with him in his garden. 

Then Chaturgam Lai's tongue was loosened and 
he told us more of the great mahatma and of the mir- 
acles he had performed. "Why, once they sent 
officials to invite him to come to America. They 
wished him to perform miracles at the World's 
Fair in Chicago." This was shock and anticlimax, 
surely. 



BENARES 175 

We took a boat at the next ghat, and were towed 
up-stream by a rope made fast to the tip of the 
mast, iu the crazy Yang-tse and Asiatic fashion, and 
then were rowed quickly across to the marble palace 
of the Maharaja of Benares. Instead of landing 
at the inviting marble steps, we climbed the mud 
bank and walked around to an untidy back gate, 
the land entrance, seeing there an ill-kept menagerie 
and the frowzy soldiers of the body-guard. We 
passed through several courts and marble halls to 
the state apartments, where splendid rugs, tawdry 
European ornaments, and mechanical toys made ex- 
treme contrasts, and came out on the marble terraces 
and latticed loggias overlooking the river and the 
city's long line of palaces and temples. The jeweled 
beauties of the zenana should have been lounging 
there to complete the picture, but they were shut 
up behind latticed windows looking on the inside 
court. This Ramnuggur palace would seem to be the 
most desirable place to live in, but there is a strong 
prejudice against dying there or anywhere on that 
opposite bank of the Ganges. Generations ago, the 
maharaja tormented a Brahman by asking ninety- 
nine times where his soul would go to from the 
palace, and the Brahman, at the hundredth query, 
assured the great man that his soul would enter a 
donkey if he died there. Now when an illness be- 
comes at all serious in Ramnuggur precincts, the 
victim is hurried to a boat and frantically ferried 
across. 

As we were leaving the palace a fanfare of trum- 
pets and bugles announced the arrival of the maha- 



176 WINTER INDIA 

raja, and we stopped to watch the passing of the 
handsome young Hindu in his white and gold tur- 
ban, a becoming red chudda wound around his 
shoulders. He stopped in front of us, bowed in- 
quiringly, and Chaturgam Lai, in his flowered dress- 
ing-gown, introduced us by name, as democratically as 
any constituent might stop and introduce one to his 
congressman on the court-house steps. After a short 
conversation on lines of democratic equality, the 
maharaja asked us to return and see more rooms of 
the palace and take a cup of tea ; but it was then sun- 
set, darkness soon to follow, and we had instead to 
hurry around to the mud-bank landing, and drift 
back to the ghats by twinkling lamplights, a last 
dull glow indicating where the domri were burning 
the bodies of the poorest believers. 



CHAPTER XIII 



LUCKNOW 




I^^^^FIERE was a truly Oriental hotel at 
Lucknow— a great, long, low, white 
palace of a building, with an areaded 
front upon which the rooms opened. 
There was a noble drawing-room, 
strewn with the myriad little tables, dwarf chairs, 
and knickknacks of British middle-class esthetic 
fashion, but glorified by a great display of mari- 
golds. The dinner-table was such another feast of 
marigolds that one forgave, or forgot, what came on 
the plates. The bedchambers were vast, cavernous, 
sunless caves, with their ceilings lost in remote shad- 
ows; the beds high, hard catafalques in the center 
of each such town hall. We spread rugs, blankets, 
and razais on these state couches, and, although the 
bundles of bedding had grown until they covered 
the top of a gharry, not all of them could soften oi' 
level those beds. 

A typical, listless, shiftless, incompetent poll-par- 
rot of a guide undertook to show us Lucknow. The 
most meager idea of the Mutiny, only the set phrases 
of local incident, had ever entered his head, along 
with a sordid idea of profit. "Two rupees a day, 
10 177 



178 WINTER INDIA 

your ladyship," whined the creature, "and, if you 
like me, a little more for bakshish, your ladyship." 
And so his woolen comforter and embroidered cap 
rode on our carriage-box to the Kaiserbaugh, where 
in its walled garden the wicked Queen of Oudh and 
the three hundred women of the zenana lived in 
jewels and idleness, envied and hated by the ninety 
nautch dancers housed in the gate pavilion. 

Lucknow's museum is indeed a "wonder-house," 
and, fortunate in having most energetic archseolo- 
gists and ethnologists as its curators, its collections 
in those lines are most complete. This palace in a 
park contains in its first hall life-sized figures and 
groups illustrating the many races, tribes, and types 
of men in the empire, from the blue-eyed men of the 
Northwest to the inkiest Tamil and Andaman Is- 
lander. There is a distracting show of textiles and 
embroideries, of beasts, birds, metal-work, wood and 
ivory carving, and such treasures of sculptured rel- 
ics from Buddhist ruins that the India of fifteen 
and twenty centuries ago is as well portrayed. The 
guide knew nothing about any of these things, and 
to our questions answered moodily: "If your lady- 
ship wishes me to tell you of the INIutiny, I can. If 
you will come down-stairs, I will explain the model 
of the Residency." Arrived at the model, the parrot 
glibly read off the names printed on each tiny roof, 
wall, and gate. "This is the Bailly Gate. This is 
the hospital," etc., etc. "Yes, yes," we answered. 
"We can read that. You go on and explain the 
model, and we will follow you." "But, your lady- 
ship," wailed the parrot, "I am explaining it to you 



LUCKNOW 179 

now. This is the Bailly Gate." "Gate to what?" 
we asked pitilessly. "Who was Bailly that they 
should name a gate for him?" The poor poll-par- 
rot's only answer to such conundrums was a rigma- 
role about the size of the Residency. "The muti- 
neers," "the rebels," "our forces," "the natives," 
and "the king's forces" rolled from his tongue 
without any mental effort. "Eighteen hundred 
people were besieged here for six months. Many 
died. More than two thousand of them were buried 
here." When asked to explain how two thousand 
could die if there were only eighteen hundred in 
the beginning, he whimpered: "But, your ladyship, 
let me tell you a little more about the Mutiny. Those 
poor people, hoiv they suffered!" 

One has rather too much of the Mutiny in India. 
It is decidedly overdone. It may be well to keep the 
great incident alive in native memory, along with 
the justly terrible reprisals ; but the tourist gets 
sated with England's woes and foes of '57, and 
recalls other wars and sieges since, and trusts that 
the next generation is not to be harrowed with the 
sieges of Ladysmith and Mafeking, Tientsin and 
Peking. Yet that tale of English courage and en- 
durance is so familiar to all of us, that none can 
fail to be deeply stirred by the sight of the battered 
Bailly Gate and the pathetic, roofless Residency— 
a vine-wreathed, eloquent monument, England's flag 
still flying night and day from the tower that never 
surrendered. It is the most eloquent, the most hu- 
man and speaking ruin that I know; and in that 
beautiful garden not a voice is raised, nor an irrev- 



180 WINTER INDIA 

erent word heard, every sound unconsciously hushed 
by the associations. The climax is reached at the 
grave of Henry Lawrence, that great soldier who 
"tried to do his duty. May the Lord have mercy 
on his soul." 

We turned away from the Eesidency door sur- 
feited with sorrows. We could stand no more mute 
memorials of suffering. "What, memsahib! Will 
you not even see that cellar f" implored the guide, 
a chastened, tongue-tied soul since being informed 
that he would be dismissed with six annas only if 
he again addressed us as ladyships. "But the mem- 
sahibs all like it. We do it to please," he wailed. 
An old soldier, survivor of the scene, is guardian of 
the Residency, and he saw that we saw every bullet- 
hole and shell-mark, and visited every room down to 
the underground chambers intended as luxurious re- 
treats in hot weather. The old veteran who had 
come in with Outram's relief in September, and 
fought through the second siege until Colin Camp- 
bell's final relief in November, made very real to us 
how a thousand people lived in that one building all 
the unusually hot summer of '57, with a plague 
of flies that covered the floors and walls and buzzed 
sickeningly over the people and their food. 

We had then supped full of Mutiny horrors, and 
we broke with the program of sight-seeing and drove 
for hours,— first to the river bank where the dhobie- 
men were swinging, pounding, slapping wet gar- 
ments with might and main, and spreading them out 
in acres of white mosaic on bank and common. We 
heeded not ruined Dilkusha, where Havelock died, 



LUCKNOW 181 

nor the route of Campbell's advance. ''Will the 
memsahib not even see the Secunderabad ? " wailed 
the guide when we refused to look into that slaugh- 
ter-pen, where sixteen hundred and foi'ty sepoys, 
fleeing from the Highlanders, were bayoneted in a 
cul-de-sac. Even Lord Roberts has said that that 
surging heap of dead and dying, more than shoulder 
high against the wall, was an incident of war that 
sickened men bent on avenging the atrocities of 
Cawnpore. 

We saw with interest the great Mohammedan 
Imambara, the arches of its court framing pictures 
of other domes and minarets, its mihrab pointing 
westward to Mecca, and its deep baoli, or well, with 
encircling marble galleries where it is always cool 
in summer. The clock-tower, the white mosque 
filled with mirrors like a Champs-Elysees cafe, and 
the old palace of the kings of Oudh hung with por- 
traits of those flabby and ill-favored royalties, were 
tedious stock sights. We saw with far more interest 
the latest American magazines lying on the table 
of the United Service Club, which now occupies the 
old Umbrella House of the nawab, an important 
place during the siege. 

Although it was a real city of palaces long before 
the Mutiny, and a larger place then than Calcutta or 
Bombay, the bazaars of this old native capital were 
not so very interesting; and, except in the silver 
bazaar, a plague of torpid flies tormented us. The 
perfume-shops were countless, and we sniffed gums, 
grasses, woods, and attars of all the flowers, until 
we could not tell the precious rose attar, that sells at 



182 WINTER INDIA 

four times its weight in silver, from the rose-water 
at twelve cents a quart that one carries for ablu- 
tions on railway trains. 

Again we caught sight of the square gray tower, 
—the tower that Mrs. Steele has introduced so well 
in "Voices of the Night,"— and the dreadful de- 
pression of Mutiny memories fell upon us. The 
dark, vaulted bedchambers of the hotel were too 
suggestive of the Residency cellar, and rather than 
pass a night in the city of such associations, or stop 
the next day to feed on the greater horrors of Cawn- 
pore, we took the afternoon train for Agra. Some 
tourists came on at Cawnpore, anxious to escape 
from the horror of it. They had seen it all, and suf- 
fered all the terrible deaths in imagination, from the 
ghats where the boat-loads of English were burned, 
drowned, or murdered in cold blood by the fiendish 
Nana Sahib, to the room where the women and chil- 
dren were bayoneted and clubbed against the wall, 
and the crowning agony of the memorial angel over 
the well of burial — all explained in detail by an 
old soldier survivor. 

Regarding Agra as the most important tourist 
place in India, it is disconcerting to have to reach 
it by cross-roads, way-trains, and branch lines, ar- 
riving always between midnight and daylight. We 
changed at Tundla Junction in a deluge of rain, 
and rode in a crowded car, seven in a single com- 
partment, without any lamps, for an hour to Agra. 

A huge turban from the hotel claimed us, and 
when the file of baggage coolies had trailed after us 
to the entrance, I said, "Get me a gharry." "Very 



LUCKNOW 183 

well, madam. Very well. Very well, " said the tur- 
ban, flourishing his cane. After five minutes I re- 
peated the order to turban tramping madly up and 
down the flagstones, cuffing coolies and bawling at 
every one and no one. "Very well, very well, mad- 
am," said this madman of Agra. Another appeal 
only pulled the string for another shower of "very 
wells," and nothing happened. I bade the bearer 
bring a gharry at once, and after big turban had 
beaten the air, beaten the bearer, and the two had 
screeched a mad dialogue, two lean horses and a rat- 
tletrap night-liner drew up and took us inside, the 
luggage on the roof, the turban on the box, and the 
bearer on behind. The ill-matched horses made a dash 
out from the lamplighted station, across the great 
common before Akbar's red sandstone fort, and took 
a turn entirely round a tree-box. After a second 
and a third turn around the tree, I put my head out 

and said severely, " Take us to the Hotel ." 

"Very well. Very well, madam," floated down 
from the box, and with a jerk and a leap the ponies 
made another tour of the tree. We continued to 
whirl and circle around that sapling by the light of a 
thin, wet moon, wrangling voices and whip-crackings 
from overhead drowning any further directions to 
drive to the hotel. Our friends, following in the 
next gharry, thought the first circlings a runaway; 
then, hearing the voices from the box, arrived at 
another idea, and cried: "Oh, come on to the hotel. 
It 's no use trying to see the Taj now. It is after 
one o'clock." 

Our answer was lost as the ponies ran around the 



184 WINTER INDIA 

tree again. In time the bearer was made to under- 
stand, and to lead the ponies by the bridle out of 
the enchanted square, and they splashed along so- 
berly enough through wet and gloomy avenues to the 
far-away hotel. This was an incongruous, opera- 
bouffe sort of arrival in and introduction to the 
city of one's soul and dreams, where more of sen- 
timent, beauty, and haunting charm aBide than in 
all the peninsula ; but sentiment with difficulty sur- 
vives the disenchantment and jarring contacts of 
Indian travel. One must see India and spend his 
sentiment on it afterward. 



CHAPTER XIV 



AGRA 




[0 the traveler Agra means, stands for, 
the Taj alone, the most interesting ob- 
ject in India; and, arrived there, one 
almost fears to precipitate the supreme 
moment, to put it to the test, to take 
the first look. There was no inspiration in the gray, 
cloudy morning or the tedious drive from the hotel 
in the farthest suburb three miles to the walled 
garden by the river bank. A sandstone gateway 
in a long wall admitted us to the serai, or outer 
court, where cabs and bullock-carts stood and touts, 
peddlers, and guides squatted waiting for prey, 
scenting the first tourist rupee of the day. There 
fronted the Great Gateway, a magnificent sandstone 
tower in itself worth coming to see, its arch inlaid 
with white verses and flowers, and a row of airy 
little bell cupolas fringing the roof-line. We went 
in through the drafty rotunda of a hall, and 
straight before us was the vision of beauty, the Taj 
Mahal— the most supremely beautiful building in 
all the world— the most perfect creation of that kind 
that the mind and hand of man have ever achieved — 
one of the great objectives of travel that does not 

185 



186 WINTER INDIA 

disappoint, but far exceeds all anticipations— a re- 
ward for all the distance one may travel to reach 
it— recompense for all one endures in Indian travel. 
Well as one knows it from photographs and engrav- 
ings, the reality is as astonishing, as overwhelming, 
as if he had never heard of it. Even while he first 
looks through the arch to the white dome above the 
cypress-trees, it seems too rarely perfect to be real, 
too incredibly beautiful to be true. It would not 
have surprised me if the light had faded, a curtain 
had fallen ; or, still less, if one had found he could 
not enter, that no foot could touch the garden-path 
or the white terrace, which is mere pedestal for this 
marvelous work of art. After watching the en- 
trance of some others, we paused for a first stead- 
fast look, and then, all excitement and exaltation, 
followed the marble path and mounted the half-way 
platform that affords the perfect view-point, the 
white wonder reflected in the long marble canal at 
their feet. 

The Taj on its high platform, with the red sand- 
stone mosque at the west, the complementary build- 
ing or ''Response" on the east, and the whole sky- 
space over and beyond the river as background, 
presents the most harmonious and perfectly bal- 
anced composition and is the most admirably placed 
building in India. The eye travels from feature 
to feature and detail to detail, and the wonder of 
its perfection continually grows. The bands of low- 
relief carving, the panels and borders of inlaid work, 
afford endless study, and one easily accepts the 
guide's set story that forty varieties of carnelian 



AGRA 189 

are inlaid in one small flower, and that the whole 
Koran is inlaid, verse by verse, on the" walls. There 
is a whole new set of sensations when one enters the 
softly lighted, dim white interior, with the echo re- 
peating each word like the response of a chanted 
service — a single note from flute or guitar a whole 
theme. A trellis of marble tracery, with inlaid bor- 
ders, screens the two tombs, low sarcophagi of jew- 
eled marble resting on inlaid platforms. Mumtaz-i- 
Mahal in the center, where the Great Mogul laid 
her, and with Shah Jahan at her side are laid away 
in real simple white tombs in a vault immediately 
below the sarcophagi ; and to them the aged guardian 
conducts one with a lantern. 

We went back at sunset, and saw only an unin- 
teresting yellow ball sink against a hazy horizon, 
and the clear-cut shadows in the arches of the Taj 
fade to white and gray. In a little while the yel- 
low ball of the full moon rose beyond the river, and 
flooded the eastern arch with a splendor unimag- 
ined. On the platform in mid-garden were other 
moonlight pilgrims, and what did they talk about 
in face of this glorious apparition, this wonder of 
the world? The German professor told how the 
mutton chops were served at his hotel— brought in 
and passed around sizzling on the hot grill ! Could 
sacrilege go further? 

There was a British artist at our hotel, "painting 
Tajes," as he naively explained, for the "London 
spring market"— "four rather nice ones" already 
finished, and more to do while the fine weather 
lasted; since early in March the hot winds begin, 



190 WINTER INDIA 

a scorching gale is blowing by noon, and the air is 
filled with dust. "Yes, it is a bit chilly sitting in 
the garden so long, these days," he said, ''and the 
tourists do bother a bit, you know; looking over 
one's shoulder and asking one if it is hard to do." 
When we hurried from dinner the next night for a 
second moonlight view, the artist said : ' ' Oh, I say ! 
You Americans have such a notion for seeing the Taj 
by moonlight. There were some American ladies 
here last month at the full of the moon, and they 
went down there after dinner, too." 

"Have n't you seen it by moonlight yet?" 
' ' Oh, dear, no ! I am there all day, you know. ' ' 
"But are you not going to-night?" we asked in 
amazement. 

" No, I think not. I will go sometime, though. 
It might be nice to paint a moonlight Taj," and he 
went on eating cheese! 

"With the round silver moon shining high in the 
vault of the intense, indigo-blue sky, the Taj Mahal 
was the frost-palace of one's dreams, and from the 
dark arch of the entrance gateway it seemed fairly 
to shine and flash in the strong light poured 
full on its eastern face. There was silence in the 
enchanted garden, and as we walked toward the 
luminous white palace only the far murmur of run- 
ning water and the scent of violets and mignonette 
told upon the other senses. We had the place to our- 
selves for one hour of silence and charm, sitting in 
the shadows of the Eesponse. Then the chatter, clat- 
ter of the tourist contingent was heard at the gate- 
way and down the path. ''Ach, Wunderschon! 



AGRA 191 

Wunderschon!" the loudest voice proclaimed. Then 
clouds skimmed over the moon, dimming the Taj, 
which was suddenly transformed to silver and frosted 
ivory again as the moon rode out. The '^Wunder- 
schun" voices continued down the path until smoth- 
ered in the staircase inside the platform, came out 
full-lunged on the terrace, and there proclaimed with 
greater volume the wonderful beauty of the white 
building. Echoes came from the domed hall, then 
the faint, glow-worm light of the custodian's lan- 
tern led the voluble gutturals around the octagon 
and down to the tombs. Next cockney voices came 
down the garden walk — some "Tommies" from the 
cantonment with their "'Arriets, " who, skylarking 
down to the terrace, with an all-hands-round at the 
entrance of the platform stairway, chased, shrieking, 
up the inner stairway and came out on the platform 
with shouts of laughter, each slim, trim figure in 
red coat and box cap standing out distinct in color 
in the moonlight. Disenchanted, we fled through 
the darkest garden paths. It was sacrilege of the 
rankest kind for those sweethearting couples to be 
skylarking around the marble screen of the tombs, 
dropping their barbarous "h's" to summon the echo, 
the pure soul of the Taj Mahal, 

For four days we haunted the garden of the Taj, 
for by noonday, sunset, and moonlight it took on as 
many rarer qualities and aspects; and six times a 
day, as we drove those long miles to and from the 
gateway, we berated the hotel-keepers for not put- 
ting the hotel where it should be. The guardians 
and keepers at the Taj came to know us, the touts 



192 WINTER INDIA 

and guides let us alone. We found, after many 
comparative tests, that the best full view of the Taj 
is to be had from the second story of the entrance 
gateway; the best sunset view from the west pavil- 
ion over the river angle of the terrace, reached by 
a staircase in the mosque ; and the best moonlight 
effect is that obtained from the opposite east pa- 
vilion, reached by the corresponding stairway in the 
Response. 

There were Philistines among some of the early 
English commanders at Agra, the most soulless of 
them all being that Lord William Bentinck who 
wanted to sell the Taj Mahal, and actually con- 
sidered the offer of thirty thousand pounds from a 
rich Hindu. One gasps, too, to hear how the Maha- 
raja of Sindhia entertained a viceroy in the en- 
chanted garden, serving supper in the Response, 
ham and champagne, "swine's flesh and wine," in 
the architectural counterpart of the Mosque. Lord 
Auckland also was entertained in the Taj, when there 
were games in the garden, with roars of laughter, 
and ham and champagne again in the Response. In 
the same way, a ball was given for Lord Ellenborough 
after the siege of Kabul, lanterns were strung on the 
cypress-trees, there was dancing to military music on 
the marble platform, and supper in the Response, as 
usual. The native press denounced this desecration 
of a tomb and place of worship, but the Agra officials 
argued that the Response was not a mosque, and, if 
it were, it had long since lost sanctity by its desecra- 
tion by Jats and Hindus. Moreover, they said that 
the literal translation of its name was "the feast- 



AGRA 193 

place"— it was before the tomb was built, Tatar 
and Mogul alike preparing a beautiful garden in 
life that it might become their burial-place, after 
which it was never used for pleasuring, but given 
over to the care of priests. The Taj Mahal was held 
in great reverence in Mohammedan days, and visitors 
were blindfolded at the entrance and not uncovered 
until they reached the place of prayer. When the 
Jats took Agra and looted its palaces, they carried 
off the entrance gates with their thousands of silver 
nails, each with a rupee as its head. They took away 
the inner doors of the Taj, each a single translucent 
slab of agate, the gold spire and crescent, and the 
precious carpets laid three and four deep on the 
floor. No vandalism of that kind has taken place 
in British days, and there has been great interest 
shown in keeping the gardens in their original con- 
dition. In 1876 the whole place was thoroughly 
repaired and restored in preparation for the Prince 
of Wales's visit, and the closest watch is kept to pre- 
vent natives, soldiers, and tourists from picking out 
the precious bits of inlaid stone. Severe punish- 
ment is visited upon natives who pick flowers or 
otherwise transgress within the inclosure, and the 
query was always in my mind whether or not the 
natives had any comprehension of the beauty and 
sentiment of the place. It was ever a growing 
wonder that these people, the Hindus, had ever ac- 
complished it— how even twenty-two thousand of 
them, working for seventeen or for twenty-two years 
under Moslem directors, had ever reared it. Like 
Sir Charles Dilke, one finds it hard to believe that 



194 WINTER INDIA 

"a people who paint their cows pink with green 
spots, and their houses orange or bright red, should 
be the authors of the Pearl Mosque or the Taj. It 
would be too wonderful." It is easier to credit the 
plans to the Frenchman Austin de Bordeaux or to 
any of the master masons or carvers who came from 
Bagdad, Constantinople, Samarkand, and from every 
Moslem center of note, and worked here during the 
same years that the Pilgrim Fathers were building 
their first log-house on Plymouth Bay. 

Driving through the great fortress gate, we saw 
first the red palace of Akbar, sandstone prelude to 
the jeweled marble halls of Shah Jahan, the great- 
est builder of all the Moguls. The first or private 
audience-hall, the Khas Mahal, lies across the Grape 
Garden, its windows set in the solid battlemented 
walls that rise sheer from the moats. It is a dream 
in white — arches and walls of pure white marble 
carved in scrolls, traceries, and flowers in low relief, 
the windows filled with marble lattices. The scheme 
of white on white is offset by a ceiling of gold and 
colors, and the Khas Mahal is a model for architects 
and decorators for all time. By an open terrace 
on the battlements, and a series of marble halls with 
walls inlaid with graceful Persian arabesques and 
flowers in colored stones, we came to the Jasmine 
Tower, Shah Jahan 's finest construction. The 
rounded balcony of the tower projects beyond the 
walls and commands the moats below, the long curve 
of the Jumna, and the white bubbles of the Taj be- 
yond a flat, green foreground of river bottom mo- 
saiced over with the washermen 's white patches. The 



AGRA 195 

lovely Mumtaz-i-Mahal livi'd in thei?e rooms around 
the fountain court, all their surface a maze of pre- 
cious inlay, the floor of the court a marble pachisi- 
board, the walls of the inner chambers fitted with 
long, sunken pockets for jewels that only a woman's 
slender hand and wrist could reach into. A stair- 
case leads down to the Shish Mahal, or Hall of Mir- 
rors, a cool grotto of a bath set with tiny mirrors in 
carved plaster, where a cascade once tinkled down 
a stepped arrangement over colored lights. Over- 
head is the tiny Gem Mosque, where the women 
prayed the Prophet to grant them souls; this ex- 
quisite marble cell being afterward the prison place 
of Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan, the accepted Great 
Mogul of Europeans, and contemporary of Crom- 
well, was deposed by his son, Jahangir, but cheered in 
his seven years' captivity by his faithful daughter, 
Jahanira. Another passage leads along above the 
battlements from the Jasmine Tower to the Diwan-i- 
Khas, another private audience-hall with an inner 
decoration of white on white in low relief, the outer 
pillars and arches inlaid with color. A considerable 
annual outlay is required to keep these inlaid walls 
in order, to replace the bits of carnelian, jade, jas- 
per, amethyst, agate, and lapis lazuli dug out by 
vicious tourists and idling hooligans of soldiers. 
This audience-hall fronts upon a terrace flush with 
the battlements, and there at close of day the Great 
Mogul used to lounge on a black marble throne, 
watching the domes and minarets of the Taj grow 
beneath the hands of the thousands of workmen. 
When the marauding Jats captured the fort they 



196 WINTER INDIA 

sacked the palace, despoiled the Di\van-i-Khas of its 
silver ceiling, but when they attempted to sit on this 
seat of the Great Mogul it broke under the indig- 
nity. Half of the court space was once a sunken 
pond, with a carved niche or throne in the sur- 
rounding gallery, where the great one used to sit 
to fish at ease. It is now but a dry stone court, and 
no trace remains of the bath-room of precious green 
marble, whose interior was stripped by the Marquis 
of Hastings, who wished to send it to England to 
be reerected as a bath-room for George IV. The 
loose marbles lay around for years, uncared for, 
and were finally sold for a trifle. It is not necessary 
for any outsider to vent his indignation at this bar- 
baric proceeding, as Sir James Fergusson has said 
it all, with a vehemence none can approach, and has 
sufiSciently laid the lash of his terrible sarcasm on 
his Philistine countrymen. 

From this Court of the Fish-pond a door admits 
one directly to the Diwan-i-Am, or great audience- 
hall, its marble lattices and inlaid throne splendid 
reminders of the past, the rows of British cannon 
and the red-coated sentries beyond sufficient evi- 
dences of the present. We crossed the court and 
ascended the staircase to the Moti Musjid, the Pearl 
Mosque, over which three generations of writers 
have raved as an architectural chef -d 'ceuvre second 
only to the Taj. After all the splendid creations 
of Shah Jahan, this in some way failed to produce 
an equal impression, and it gave us a distinct sense 
of disappointment. The simplicity of the white 
mosque, relieved only by the blue and gray veins 



AGRA 199 

of the marble and the one long inscription in 
black inlay, did not appeal. The white court with 
its mirror tank, the white cloisters, the vista of 
white arches and columns, and the pale shadows of 
the interior had beauty,— Vereshchagin's painting 
had told one that,— but the Moti Musjid gave the 
chill of the first disappointment in Agra. 

The tomb of I 'tamadu-daulah, father of Nur Ja- 
han, the famous wife of Jahangir, and grandfather 
of Mumtaz-i-Mahal, is on the opposite side of the 
Jumna; far above the Taj and from the high rail- 
way bridge and from the garden terraces one has 
still different views of the Taj. All the roads lead- 
ing there were crowded one Sunday afternoon with 
strings of ekkas and bullock-carts overflowing with 
women and children, and the garden-paths and the 
marble platform around the marquetry tomb of 
the Persian treasurer were crowded with family par- 
ties. The women and children were all in their most 
brilliant holiday attire, their jewels and tinsel, fan- 
tastic fineries and fripperies of every kind making 
the green garden around the white pavilion a dazzle 
of color, a dream of India. Complacent fathers sat 
stocking-footed on outspread blankets, their veiled 
women and children, huddled near, regarding the 
superior being with awe — a joyous Indian family 
holiday of the middle classes. A small boy flashed 
by in a petunia satin coat and gold-embroidered 
cap, bare-legged and tugging at a bow and arrow. 
Another boy in gorgeous red satin top-clothes 
munched a green apple, and the petunia archer flew 
at him with the fury of a tiger. Screams from the 



200 WINTER INDIA 

combatants and all their female followers rent the 
air, and when forcibly separated neither was to be 
appeased by proffered peanuts. Then a small sister 
of the petunia coat dashed forward and dealt the 
green-apple boy such a clap on the ear that the 
female parliament was paralyzed. When we pre- 
sented the intrepid little woman with some annas of 
admiration our dumfounded bearer asked, "Why 
do such curious thing?" and afterward tried half- 
heartedly to explain to the crouching women that it 
was our testimonial to the first woman in India with 
any backbone. With laughter, the four wives, the 
two daughters, and the wrinkled old nurse in pew- 
ter jewelry, who were with the father of the little 
"new woman," promised to keep her in the habit of 
resenting tyrant man and redressing promptly all 
the wrongs that came to her notice. 

The garden rang with jingling anklets, and the 
play of colors was kaleidoscopic. Two beautiful 
young women raised their white head-sheets to look 
at us as they passed, red shoes and full yellow skirts 
and much coin jewelry making them fantastic fig- 
ures fit for a fancy-dress ball. Scores of women 
flounced by in red skirts, green skirts, changeable 
silk skirts with tinsel borders, and wearing purple, 
green, yellow, and white head-sheets. A nautch- 
girl came jingling by, her pale-blue skirts the only 
touch of that color in the whole garden. After 
we had seen the tombs in the mosaic pavilion, 
whose inlaid walls were the first to be decorated in 
pietra dura in India, we mounted to the terrace roof 
around the upper story of the marble reliquary, 



AGRA 201 

which is a mass of fine relief-carving and lattice- 
work, and looked down upon the brilliant scene 
in the garden. And this spectacular gathering of 
so many hundreds of women and children was all 
to celebrate the ceremonial hair-cutting of the year 
—the clippings of the children's hair being brought 
to the terrace and there thrown into the Jumna, with 
flower offerings. 




CHAPTER XV 

AKBAR, THE GREATEST MOGUL OF THEM ALL 

T Agra, Akbar, the greatest of all the 
Mogul sovereigns, descendant of Baber 
and Timur, and of tribal connec- 
tion with Genghis Khan, becomes a 
very real personage. He lived in that 
age of great sovereigns when Henry IV, Philip II, 
and Queen Elizabeth ruled in Europe. He has been 
called the Marcus Aurelius and the Frederick the 
Great of India, and he was the greatest builder the 
country had then known. Forts, palaces, tombs, 
and whole cities sprang up by his command, and at 
his court literature, art, and all religions were hon- 
ored. Brahmans, Mohammedans, Sikhs, Jains, and 
Catholic priests expounded and argued with him 
in a first parliament of religions, and, regarding 
them all impartially, he devised a universal theology, 
a compromise creed which his vizier and not a few 
courtiers adopted. He himself worshiped the sun 
every morning, as representative of the divinity 
which animates and rules the world. He was a 
strenuous sort of ruler too, walking twenty and 
thirty miles a day, to the dismay of his courtiers; 
and once he rode from Ajmir to Agra in two days, 

202 



AKBAR, THE GREATEST MOGUL OF THEM ALL 203 

covering the two hundred and twenty miles by innu- 
merable relays of fast horses. Akbar wrote his mem- 
oirs, in worthy emulation of Baber, whose autobiog- 
raphy in illuminated Persian text is treasured in the 
Agra College library. 

In the usual reverse order of all Indian sight-see- 
ing, we first saw Akbar 's tomb, and then his City 
of Victory. The tomb is at Secundra, a suburb of 
Agra. A great red sandstone gateway admits one to 
the flagged court, and the impressive pillared pa- 
vilion, rising story upon story, after the oldest Bud- 
dhist constructions, covers the remains of the great- 
est of the Moguls. A pierced marble screen walls 
the upper terrace, where the white sarcophagus, cov- 
ered with carving, lies open to the sun and sky, 
the intended white dome never having been com- 
pleted by Akbar 's successors. The real tomb is 
reached by a sloping passageway, and the monarch 
lies in a grave scooped in the earth like the graves 
of his desert-chief ancestors. 

Never on any sleigh-ride, nor in winter travel in 
the North, have I known such suffering from cold as 
during the twenty-two-mile ride from Agra to Fateh- 
pur Sikri, Akbar 's City of Victory. The heaviest 
winter clothing and all the wraps, rugs, razais, and 
hot-water bottles could not defy the insidious air. 
The sun shone, the trees were green, the road was 
smooth and well kept, but the keen, raw, icy wind 
of a Canadian March so benumbed us on our way 
to Akbar 's Versailles that several times we ran be- 
side the victoria in our efforts to restore circula- 
tion. We paused not for sights when once ar- 



204 WINTER INDIA 

rived there. "What were Akbar's outer walls, his 
treasury, mint, or any lot of ruined stonework to 
us until we could reach the cold splendors of the 
dak bangia, once the Record Office and Akbar's 
House of Dreams, and thaw our fingers over the 
cook-house charcoals? We shut the mullioned win- 
dows in the cliff-like outer walls commanding the 
vast prospect of the plain, and supplemented the 
slight and shadowy, the sketchy, impressionist im- 
itation of a breakfast of the Agra hotel with scald- 
ing chocolate and really hot toast, and embarked 
the sjonpathetic old khansamah on a more solid 
tiffin than he had contemplated. AVe proposed to 
stoke up with all the bodily fuel possible for the 
return drive in the teeth of the wind. 

A troop of guides lay in wait for us, and luck 
let us have another of those stupid parrots who, 
in embroidered caps and winding chuddas, mis- 
lead one over all the show-places of India. This one 
stuttered— may all others know and avoid him by 
that sign!— and, like all of his gild, reversed the 
guide-book order of sight-seeing. We had already 
suffered enough in that way, and we ordered him 
to right about face and march to the Turkish 
queen's house, first on the Murray list and first 
object before the Hall of Records. ''But, lady- 
ship, I wish f-f-first to sh-sh-show you the mosque 
and my ancestor's grave." But we wanted none 
of his ancestors, except in their regular order. 
"Oh, your ladyship, your ladyship, take me, take 
me. God is good. Take me, take me," mumbled a 
toothless collection of wrinkles in white grave-clothes. 



AKBAR, THE GREATEST MOGUL OF THEM ALL 205 

"I know the palace well. I know the Turkish 
queen. I showed the Prince of Wales all Fateh- 
pur Sikri. ' ' And then guides grew thick and thicker 
around us, rising from the very flagstones. They 
whined in procession after us across the court, and 
it was easy to make compact with our guide, who 
was almost exploding with spasms of stuttering 
wrath at the interlopers. He was to lead us in 
the straight and direct path of the "Murray book," 
and receive bakshish in proportion to his success 
in keeping his rivals away and in omitting his "lady- 
ships." 

As we wandered in admiration through the sun- 
warmed courts, sheltered from the biting blast, our 
benumbed senses revived, and we warmed to real 
enthusiasm over this "romance in stone," over all 
the exquisite fantasies, the veritable maisons hijoux 
Akbar had built for his favorite wives. The Great 
Mogul was as eclectic and as far-reaching in his con- 
sort collecting as in his religion, and we were shown 
the house of his Turkish queen Miriam; that of his 
Christian Portuguese wife ; the house of Birbal, his 
Hindu wife, and a great zenana. Of the same order 
of lavish ornamentation is the wonderful council- 
chamber with its central pillar, all these structures 
carved over every inch of surface with the finest 
and most intricate ornament, geometrical patterns, 
and traceries. Outside, inside, over all the walls and 
ceilings spreads the revel of ornament, and the win- 
dows hold perforated stone and marble screens as 
fine as woven reed-work. This was the real In- 
dia of the imagination, the setting for "The Nau- 



206 WINTER INDIA 

lahka," every part of the carved labyrinth a scene 
for melodrama. There was one great five-story 
pavilion, strangely like Akbar's tomb in design, each 
pillared and open hall of fairy lightness, with a 
row of fantastic bell-cupolas on top. There the 
zenana women took the air, and near by was Akbar 's 
great pachisi-board inlaid in a court pavement, 
where he played the game with his vizier, using 
slave-girls for pawns, and the successful one keeping 
the beauties he won. On the seat overlooking this 
checker-board, Akbar doubtless flourished his fa- 
mous bon-bon box, with its harmless delights in one 
compartment, perfumed poison in the other. After 
having dealt death to many courtiers deliberately, 
he accidentally took the wrong sugar-plum himself 
one day, and ended his life in the most satisfactory, 
retributive, story-book way. 

Our guide finally led us through the inlaid gate 
to the court of the mosque, and was about to launch 
full-lunged on his ancestors of honorable burial 
when our eyes fell upon the little white marble tomb 
of Selim Chisti, the hermit saint and local genius, 
whose prophecies led Akbar to build this palace and 
city on the arid plain. The saint's tomb is the most 
exquisite thing of its kind in India, a tiny marble 
jewel-box, hardly larger than an elephant's howdah, 
a filigree reliquary, with fine lattice walls, fantastic 
brackets, and a domed roof shining in the sunlight. 
The ebony doors admit one to the tomb, where os- 
trich eggs hang and ebony panels are inlaid with 
mother-of-pearl. One looks through the marble 
screens, as fine as basketry, at the Indian sky, as 



AKBAR, THE GREATEST MOGUL OF THEM ALL 209 

clearly blue as sapphire. We forgot the inlaid arches 
and the tiled facings of the mosque, which is a copy 
of the mosque at Mecca, and turned only to look 
again and again at the tiny white tomb shining like 
a frost creation in the empty stone court, the reality 
infinitely more satisfactory than even Vereshcha- 
gin's painting had led us to expect. In front of this 
little prettiness the great gate of Victory opens to 
the plain and the ruined city, a broad staircase lead- 
ing down to the rubbish-strewn common. We went 
through the great domed arch, the doors studded 
with votive nail-heads and horseshoes, and from the 
foot of the staircase had the intended view of this 
gate which Fergusson calls "noble beyond that of 
any portal attached to any mosque in India, perhaps 
in the whole world." Across the front of this gate 
Akbar inlaid the famous inscription : ' ' Isa [Jesus] , 
on whom be peace, said : ' The world is a bridge, pass 
over it, but build no house on it. The world endures 
but an hour, spend it in devotion. ' " There is a great 
green, oval well, with a parapet and arched chambers 
surrounding it, close beside the steps and the high, 
battlemented walls. Despite the keen and wintry 
air, lean men and boys, shivering in a few flutters 
of cotton drapery, offered to jump the eighty feet 
from the battlements into the well. While we de- 
murred, covered with goose-flesh at the mere idea, 
there was a shout from above, a brown figure shot 
out into the air, whirling his arms frantically to 
keep the body upright, and dropped feet foremost 
into the pool. The green scum closed over him, and 
before we could recover breath the black head swam 



210 WINTER INDIA 

to the steps, wound on a dry sheet, and came, all 
green and shivering, to claim a rupee for the feat. 
He dashed instantly out of sight, reappeared on the 
battlements, and made a second plummet drop 
into the well. Only the fact that those two dearly 
earned rupees assured him food for the day could 
ease one's conscience for aiding and abetting such 
inhuman sport. Two Scotch tourists, who had 
watched the cold plunger from the head of the steps, 
refused to pay a rupee apiece, or even one anna, to 
the "poor man with family to feed." We could 
hear them say that they had not engaged the man 
to jump, the ladies had arranged that. "But you 
saw me. You watched me. You all looked at me," 
howled the jumper, following them. And the Scotch- 
men said: "Those Americans can just pay more, 
then. We won't give you an anna. Jao!" 

After the arctic drive back to Agra, we had time 
only for a cup of scalding tea before hurrying to 
the Taj to witness the most wonderful sunset of 
all, an amber afterglow illuminating every inner 
curve and recess and dispelling all shadows, the light 
seeming to radiate from the glowing marble, to 
emanate from the white surface itself. As if that 
six-mile pilgrimage, added to our forty-four-mile 
drive of the day, were not enough, the clear sparkle 
of the stars and the nipping air of that night sug- 
gested a different Taj, and after dinner we rattled 
down the Strand Road to see by moonlight such a 
glitteringly white, splendidly snowy frost-palace as 
we had not dreamed of finding in India. 

We essayed a rainy day of rest, taking our ease 



AKBAR, THE GREATEST MOGUL OF THEM ALL 211 

at our inn, myself in a superior, sunless, fireless, 
cheerless room, which was but a long, whitewashed 
vault with a carefully curtained door opening on 
a brick portico. Drafts that were small gales 
blew through, making reading, writing, or anything 
but sneezing impossible. The peddlers marked us 
for their own that day, and every few moments there 
was a tap on the glass door, a brown hand was thrust 
in with some object for sale; and a plaintive "mem- 
sahib" or "ladyship" distracted one. "Please buy. 
Please buy. I am poor man," rang in my ears all 
day, and the transfer of packs from the bricks out- 
side to the dirty matting within was accomplished 
imperceptibly. I was first aware of some pleading, 
whining creature with a shop spread on the floor 
around him— silver, jewelry, embroideries, shawls, 
beetle-winged gauzes, gay pulkharries, and souvenir 
spoons. Every day a huge damascened fork or tri- 
dent was offered me as I passed in or out, — whether 
a dagger or an elephant goad I could not say. "Oh, 
yes, your ladyship," said the oily one in answer, 
"this is toast-fork. Very nice. Very comfortable 
thing for traveling. Please buy. I am poor man." 
But he and his tribe were ordered to begone, and 
as the toast-master shuffled out with his bundle he 
paused at the threshold to slip into his Mohamme- 
dan shoes, using the big fork for a shoe-horn. 
"Very useful. See, your ladyship," he said, adjust- 
ing the second shoe with the combination toasting- 
fork, "Silputs [slippers] help on, also." 

When the sky cleared in the late afternoon we 
betook ourselves to the fort to await the rose-red 



212 WINTER INDIA 

sunset that the humid atmosphere promised. The 
old chuprassy welcomed us to the Jasmine Tower, 
and gave us wicker stools that we might comfortably 
watch the white bubbles beyond the green fore- 
ground flame to rose-red and then fade away, effaced 
in the gray mists that rolled up the river, presage 
of the deluge rain that followed. The keeper brought 
torches and led us down to the labyrinth of dark 
chambers and vaults that underlie the zenana and 
the Grape Garden. Six thousand people found ref- 
uge in the fort during the Mutiny, and then all this 
underground world was explored, with its oubliettes 
and long passages reaching to the moats and the 
water-gate. The rooms we saw were the prisons for 
zenana offenders, and by dumb show and much 
mixed language we were informed that it was Ak- 
bar's wives who suffered most often here by torture 
and the rope, the sack, and the drop down the echo- 
ing well. No screams could be heard in the sunny 
Grape Garden, nor in the beautiful audience-hall; 
and, after Akbar's career of domestic tyranny, it 
was fitting that his son, Jahangir, should be ruled 
by his Persian wife, Nur Jahan, and that Shah 
Jahan, the grandson, should worship in life, and 
after her death, Mumtaz-i-Mahal. 




CHAPTEK XVI 

DELHI 

,T was in the regular order of discomfort 
that we should leave Agra late at night 

and reach Delhi at four o'clock in the 
|V morning; the last straw lay in the 

fact that we departed in a pouring 
rain and made the midnight change at Tundla 
Junction in a cloud-burst. Fires had warmed the 
rooms (which we reached by a roof or terrace) 
when we arrived at the much commended Delhi 
hotel, and we fell asleep to dream of Madura 
noondays until an unusual hour of the morning. 
Then we found that the rooms had no windows, 
so that when the doors were closed and the fire- 
places heaped with wood, we had easily enjoyed 
the climate of the tropics. That hotel, named for 
a great viceroy, was by far the worst, the most for- 
lorn, run-dowTi, and dilapidated of any we found 
up-country. The drawing-room was a muddle of 
broken furniture, of dusty and disorderly draperies, 
the dining-room infragrant and time-stained, and 
the manager— there are no landlords or innkeepers 
in British realms any more— a listless, depressed, 
poor white creature, a definite failure in life, who 

213 



214 WINTER INDIA 

roamed the portico in pajamas and long ulster, 
smoking a German student pipe. We removed forth- 
with to another hotel, that had once been a splendid 
official residence. Our rooms opened by long win- 
dows upon a cement terrace flush with the battle- 
ments of the city walls, and from that high para- 
pet we looked down upon the Jumna and green 
wooded spaces where the jackals howled all night 
and wherein are laid some of the scenes of "On 
the Face of the Waters." The entrance portico 
of the mansion was used as a dining-room, the great 
stone arches partly closed at night by bamboo blinds, 
ventilated curtains that swayed and swung in the 
drafts and breezes which blew over us as we dined 
there, practically out of doors, on those cold Janu- 
ary nights, with the humidity great and the ther- 
mometer registering 38 to 40 degrees. 

"It is a land of misery," cried a great American 
litterateur who was doing India with a rapidity un- 
equaled by any personally conducted tourist. "All 
I want to do is to get out of it ; to get away ; to get 
something an American stomach is used to eating; 
to get some Apollinaris instead of this hygienic soda ; 
to get warm again. If I get within one hundred 
miles of any place, I will say I have seen it. I don't 
want any more architecture at this price." And 
this tirade was in the same key and vein indulged in 
by all the coughing, sneezing, rheumatic, and neu- 
ralgic tourists. All were cross, half ill, and thor- 
oughly homesick in this chill land of supposed 
tropic splendors. 

When the sour mists or the frost hazes of those 



DELHI 215 

Delhi mornings had cleared away, we had sunshine 
that mellowed grumblers to amiability, and they 
basked in the hot beams of noonday; but gloom 
settled on them with the damp chill of sunset, and 
there were the same depressed and depressing groups 
huddled before the few hissing twigs in the fireplaces 
of the chill white caves of rooms. Then the jackals 
came under our windows and laughed and shrieked 
hysterically, as well they might, at calling such a 
tour pleasure travel. 

The old capital of the Moguls has great charm 
in sunshine, and Delhi's main thoroughfare, the 
Chandni Chauk (Silver Square), was the most bril- 
liant and spectacular place we had seen. All native 
life was crowded into that street, which is a contin- 
uous market-place for a mile, with rainbow crowds 
of people streaming up and down, buying and selling 
everything from crown diamonds and jeweled jade 
to sheepskins and raw meat. The street has run 
with blood many times, and has been strewn and 
stacked with corpses. Nadir Shah put one hundred 
thousand to death, Timur had done worse, and the 
IMahrattas were the worst of all; so that the 
butchery after the Mutiny siege of Delhi was but an- 
other regrettable incident in its history. At the far 
end of the street towers the red sandstone gateway 
of Shah Jahan's fort, and driving in under this 
portal fit for kings and triumphal armies, we found 
sepoys lounging on charpoys by the guard-house 
door, tunics unbuttoned, turbans awry and at loose 
ends, and INIoslem shoes hanging from one bare toe 
— the sa7is gene of the race undisturbed by the noble 

12 



216 WINTER INDIA 

environment or the contrasting presence of the 
tramping sentry on duty, turbaned and accoutred 
to perfection, spindle legs wound with smooth put- 
ties, and the enormous English shoes blacked to a 
drill-sergeant's dream. Such loungers at the guard- 
house door are on view at every show fort and 
palace in India, incongruous, disillusioning, but 
thereby the real thing. Incongruity is the regular 
order in India, splendor and shabbiness, dirt and 
riches, luxury and squalor always going together. 
We were free to roam the courts and garden spaces 
of the palace unhindered, from Shah Jahan's open 
audience-hall, or music-room, with its panels of 
Florentine mosaic on black marble ground, to that 
inner throne-room, the most splendid in the world. 
This peerless Diwan-i-Khas, one mass of rich deco- 
ration from the inlaid floor to the golden ceiling, 
was worthy setting for the Peacock Throne. The 
renegade Frenchman or Italian who planned the 
palaces of Shah Jahan, and the skilled workmen 
brought from all the centers of Mohammedan lux- 
ury, made the Delhi palace equal in decorative 
details to the Agra palace and the Taj. "If 
there is on earth an Eden of bliss, it is this, 
it is this, it is this," was appropriately inlaid in 
Persian letters in this throne-room, whose square 
columns, arches, spandrils, frieze, and moldings 
are decorated with exquisite pietra dura. A small 
dais shows where stood the Peacock Throne, that 
low, square chair completely sheathed in rubies, 
pearls, diamonds, emeralds, and other stones, the 
Koh-i-nur one of the peacock's eyes, and a life-sized 



DELHI 217 

parrot cut from a single emerald its crowning orna- 
ment. That fabled emerald parrot, like the so-called 
emerald Buddha at Bangkok, was undoubtedly noth- 
ing but a very fine and clear piece of /'ti tsui jade, 
but it went with all the other loot that Nadir Shah 
carried away in 1739— loot the value of which 
amounted to thirty-eight million pounds, and which 
was scattered by the Kurds when he was murdered. 
India was drained of its riches then, for no good 
end. After Nadir Shah had gone his way with 
the Peacock and nine other jeweled thrones, this 
palace suffered neglect as well as sacking. When 
Lord Auckland's sisters saw it in 1838, the old 
King of Delhi sat in a neglected garden, his own 
dirty soldiers lounged on dirty charpoys in the beau- 
tiful inlaid bath-rooms, and the precious inlays were 
being stolen, bit by bit, from the rooms of the 
princes. One regrets the destruction that f (flowed 
the Mutiny, when the zenana and whole labyrinths 
of guest-rooms were torn away to make space for 
barracks. Sir James Fergusson has dealt with these 
destroying British barbarians very thoroughly in 
"Indian and Eastern Architecture" (Vol. II, p. 208), 
and hands on to immortality the name of Sir John 
Jones, who tore up the platform of the Peacock 
Throne and divided it into sections which he sold as 
table-tops, the pair now in the India Museum at 
London having fetched him five hundred pounds. 

The audience-halls, the baths, and the rooms 
around the Diwan-i-Khas were repaired and restored 
at great expense in preparation for the Prince of 
Wales's visit in 1876, and close watchfulness has 



218 WINTER INDIA 

maintained them in that condition. One can only 
wish that for completeness' sake a glass copy of the 
Peacock Throne might be installed in the original's 
place. Tourists would gladly contribute their annas 
to that worthy end. 

The Jama Mas j id, the largest and certainly the 
most imposing mosque in India, lifts its minarets 
across a great park where troops of great apes race 
madly, alert for the pious Hindus, whom one often 
sees ostentatiously feeding them inferior boiled rice, 
"to acquire merit." The great gateway of the 
mosque, high on a terraced platform, is second only 
to Akbar's Gate of Victory, and, opening formerly 
only for the Mogul emperor, swings widely now 
when the Viceroy visits it. On Friday mornings 
ten and twelve thousand people worship there ; in fes- 
tival times four times as many assemble. The priests 
are friendly, and in one of the lesser minarets show 
one richly illuminated copies of the Koran, Moham- 
med's slipper filled with jasmine blossoms, and finally 
one henna-red hair from the beard of the Prophet. 
There is a busy market around the steps of the great 
gateway on certain days, when grotesque two-story 
camel-wagons bring in country produce ; dealers in 
poultry hold one side of the terrace steps and bird- 
fanciers the other. We had eaten mutton-chops 
from Tuticorin northward, but had never seen a live 
sheep until we heard its familiar voice by Jama 
Mas j id's steps. But what flocks of goats we had 
seen in pastures, on country roads and city streets! 
"It is poultry," said the bearer as we regarded the 
fat-tailed sheep with curiosity, his application of 





KUTAB MINAK, 



DELHI 221 

the word ''poultry" meaning tame or domestic as 
distinguished from ''jungle," which defines a wild 
fowl or animal. "Yes, the peacock is poultry," he 
answered quickly, but when we inquired about the 
elephants and camels standing round he hesitated. 
"Yes. Certainly. The elephant once was jungle, 
and the camble too ; but now they both are poultry." 

The little Jain temple and the Black Temple of 
the Hindus are sanctuaries of other Delhi sects, 
but we forgot conventional sights and the rivalry 
of religions when we met a wedding procession in 
the labyrinth of streets in that quarter. The horses 
wore gold, silver, and jeweled bridles, head-stalls 
and necklaces to match, and gold-embroidered cloths 
and trappings. The bridegroom's brother was a 
dazzling, kincob-clad person, jeweled to distraction, 
with wreaths and tassels of jasmine covering him 
from crown to waist, and the bridegroom was twice 
as splendid. The populace gaped and ran after the 
cavalcade, and half-naked beggars tiocked with ex- 
tended palms. ' ' Jao ! Jao ! ' ' said the bridegroom 's 
brother in a voice to make a policeman tremble ; and 
swish! came his jeweled whip on the bare shoulders 
of one insistent petitioner. With a yelp of pain and 
a spiritless whine, the beggar slunk away. 

Delhi remains the center of all Indian art indus- 
tries. The most skilful jewelers and gem-cutters, 
painters, carvers, embroiderers, and craftsmen whose 
creations could tempt the purse or minister to the 
luxury of the greater and lesser Moguls, have gath- 
ered there for centuries, and trade habits are but 
slowly broken. Along Chandni Chauk plump mer- 



222 WINTER INDIA 

chants in snow-white clothes and tiny jeweler's tur- 
bans invite one to their white, washed, felt-floored 
inner rooms; and there, treading cat-like in stock- 
inged feet, they unroll gold and silver embroideries, 
Kashmir shawls, and " camble 's-hair " stuffs, and 
cover the last inches of floor space with jewels. 
Necklaces, girdles, and a queen's ornaments are 
drawn from battered boxes, scraps of paper, cotton 
cloth, or old flannel. Nothing seems quite as in- 
congruous in this land of the misfit and the incon- 
gruous as the way in which the jewels of a raja 
are produced from old biscuit-tins, pickle-bottles, 
and marmalade-jars. One buys the gems of a 
temple goddess, and they are laid in grimy cotton- 
wool and packed in rusty little tin boxes of a crudity 
inconceivable. While on the claim the Klondike 
miner considers the makeshift of a baking-powder 
box, as a safe deposit for his nuggets and dust, as 
a huge joke ; but the Hindu jeweler does it with no 
sense of the unfitness of things, of relative propri- 
ety in splendor. "Memsahib does not like tin 
box? Very well. See!" and the ruby necklace was 
wrapped in a bit of newspaper, and put in a broken 
pasteboard box that had held a druggist's pre- 
scription. When they have covered the floor with 
their most valuable stuffs, the shopmen walk over 
them without compunction, pull them here and 
there, and throw them in heaps into the corners. 
When this happens several times a day, and the 
traps are bundled to and from the hotels night and 
morning, it is small wonder that everything offered 
one is mussy, wrinkled, and shop-worn. Despite the 



DELHI 223 

lures and promises of the toy turban tribe, no 
important pieces of carved or jeweled jade were 
seen. To them any green stone was jade, and under 
that name they brought out serpentine, bowenite, 
and chloro-melanite— anything soft and easily 
worked that would look as well. Three generations 
of one family are no longer employed in carving 
one jade bowl, as in Mogul times. Art is fleeting 
now, and the lapidaries want quick sales and as 
large returns as the tourist's enlightenment permits. 
One may handle these Delhi jewels by the hour 
and not see a flawless stone, a spherical pearl, or 
any string of pearls matched perfectly in size, shape, 
skin, or luster ; and one moves in and breathes such 
an atmosphere of jewels in Delhi that he soon re- 
gards precious stones as the usual, serious accom- 
paniment of daily life. A prosaic tourist, never 
given to such weaknesses, soon finds himself hanging 
and haggling over jewels, buying unset stones and 
gewgaws to indiscretion. From the earliest break- 
fast hour to the last home-coming at dusk, and until 
the train bears him away from the station platform, 
open jewel-boxes and rows of necklaces spread on 
cloths or shawl-ends are put before him. Some in- 
sinuating Lai This or Lai That, with caste-marked 
brow and tiny turban, is always salaaming and beg- 
ging him to buy his blue ferozees (turquoises), or 
necklaces of the nine lucky stones. A tap at the 
door, and it opens to show a brown face and a tassel 
of necklaces swinging from a brown hand ; and in 
time the victim is hypnotized by the glittering ob- 
jects. There is bitter trade rivalry among the jew- 



224 WINTER INDIA 

elers and their touts, and one cannot visit the shop 
or buy of one of the Lais without being denounced 
and upbraided for partiality by all the other Lais. 
"Please come my shop. Please buy my shop. I am 
only honest man. I am poor man," said one oily 
tongue, putting his fingers to his mouth in dumb 
show of rice-eating. "Yes, yes," we said to the 
importunate as we drove away from the hotel, and 
a fierce-eyed, viper ish-looking Hindu made a flying 
leap to the other step of the carriage and hissed: 
"Don't go his shop. He is bad man. He cheat. 
He lie. His ferozees are all glass, chalk. I speak 
true. I am honest man. I have true stones. I am 
poor man. Please buy my shop." An emphatic 
" Jao !" made him drop away from the carriage step. 
Winding up his loose end of red shawl, he went back 
to the door-step and squatted there in apparent fra- 
ternity with the wicked rival— both blood-brothers 
in lying and cheating, both waiting for fresh prey, 
the tourist the righteous victim for such swindlers 
in all countries. 

After much looking and comparing, a friend of 
that Indian winter bought a ruby necklace, and 
as she stowed it away in her inside strong pocket 
her particular Lai said, "Please, ladyship, do not 
show any one here in Delhi. Let no man know that 
I have sold, that you have bought my 'niklass.' 
Those bad fellows at hotel do something if they 
know I sell." We strolled for an hour along the 
Chandni Chauk, when we were met by our servant 
with a closed carriage and drove to the Ridge. As 
the horses slowed down for the long hill climb, 



DELHI 225 

the box was opened for a look at the new purchase. 
Hardly had the owner wound it over her hand, 
when the kincob turban and viper countenance of 
the rival jeweler was thrust in the open window. 
There was an "Ah" of such venomous rage that we 
screamed in alarm. The head vanished, and this 
sleuth-hound of jewelers, who had shadowed us all 
day and clung to the back of the carriage, was seen 
speeding like a deer back to the city. 

"Oh, I found Delhi so sad, so depressing. All 
those scenes of the Mutiny, you know— the Kashmir 
Gate and the Eidge, don't you know. It was so 
terrible that I was really glad to get away," said 
an English visitor. The ruby collar and the detec- 
tive jeweler had put us beyond any depression inci- 
dent to the visit to the Ridge, familiar as is its his- 
tory when one has read Lord Roberts's "Forty-one 
Years in India" and Mrs. Steele's "On the Face of 
the Waters." At Delhi, too, one feels that there 
have been too many sieges and reliefs in these later 
days for the events of 1857 to be dinned into one 
quite so endlessly. Newspaper readers are all stra- 
tegical experts now, and they balance and measure 
the horrors and heroisms of the siege of Delhi against 
the modern ones; match the storming of the Kash- 
mir Gate with the glorious storming of the South 
Gate of Tientsin and of the East Gate of Peking 
by the Japanese in the China campaign of 1900. 

From the Ridge one looks down upon the great 
plain where the annual camp of exercise, or the 
great military manoeuvers, are held each year. The 
great durbar or Delhi meeting of 1877 was held on 



226 WINTER INDIA 

this same plain, when Lord Lytton proclaimed the 
Queen of England as Empress of India in the pres- 
ence of all the feudatory princes and an assemblage 
of more than one hundred thousand people. The 
plain was the scene also of the greater durbar of 
1903, when Lord Curzon proclaimed King Edward 
VII of England as Emperor of India, with a pagean- 
try and splendor unapproached in modern times, — 
the most magnificent state ceremony that has ever 
been seen. 



CHAPTER XVII 



OLD DELHI 




NE gets the full sense of antiquity in 
driving south from Delhi for eleven 
miles over a plain strewn with the 
ruins of seven earlier cities that pre- 
ceded this modern Delhi, or Shah Ja- 
hanabad. Dwellings have crumbled away, but forts 
and tombs have withstood the ages, and there is a very 
feast of graveyards all the way to the Kutab minar. 
Hoariest of all the memorials is the carved stone col- 
umn of Asoka (240 B.C.), inscribed with the Buddha's 
precepts a-gainst the taking of life, and which stands 
in Tughlak's ruined fort at Firozabad. At ruined 
Indrapat are the remains of the lovely inlaid 
mosque and the tall tower from which the emperor 
Humayum fell while studying the stars ; and near 
by is the splendid red sandstone mausoleum erected 
for him by his widow and his son Akbar. A cen- 
tury after its erection, this domed tomb of Huma- 
yum furnished the model for the Taj Mahal, and one 
quickly notes the main points of resemblance between 
this massive red building and the white dream at 
Agra. Humayum 's tomb stands upon the same sort 
of high platform, but lacks the slender minarets 

227 



228 WINTER INDIA 

at the corners. The red building and its white 
marble dome are larger than the more delicately 
modeled, the more ornate, poetic, and feminine 
structure at Agra. The last scene of the Mutiny- 
was played here when Hobson's men overtook Baha- 
dur Shah, the fugitive Delhi king, and returned the 
next day for the princes, shot them, and exposed 
their bodies in the blood-soaked, corpse-strewn 
Chandni Chauk. Bahadur Shah lived in exile at 
Rangoon for forty years, and his son, childless and 
born in exile, a harmless nonentity, was permitted 
to return to India for the durbar of 1903. 

At Humayum's tomb we left the tree-bordered 
Muttra road, where camel-wagons and strings of 
donkeys moved phantom-like through the dusty 
frost haze : the air so very sharp that one wondered 
how pipul- and tamarind-trees could retain their 
foliage. The revel of death and ruins, the feast of 
tombs and mortuary architecture, continued for 
miles, the names of the honored dead conveying no 
idea of personality, having no association of indi- 
viduality to one, all this past so vague and unfa- 
miliar that one moralizes, like Omar, on the vanity 
of man. One at last identifies four tombs— that 
of Akbar's brother, that of the Chisti saint, that of 
a Persian poet and that of the unhappy emperor Mo- 
hammed Shah, last occupant of the Peacock Throne 
so thoroughly despoiled by Nadir Shah. The saint, 
who was something of a juggler and miracle-worker, 
a Mohammedan mahatma, rests in a little white 
jewel-box of marble, whose red awnings give a 
comforting color-note to the chill court. The saint 



OLD DELHI 229 

built a woll guaranteed not to drown any one wlio 
leaped into it, and a lean boy in a tattered sheet 
begged us to see him jump. "One rupee— only 
one rupee, memsahib. Ek rupia.'" He fell, anna by 
anna, to half that price. We shivered in furs to think 
of a cold plunge in that icy air and keen wind, and 
finally bargained, in the presence of the priest, to 
give him six annas if he would go home, put on more 
clothes, and not jump that day. One crazy foreigner 
more or less, with notions crazier than the last one, 
could not disturb a molla; but as it was past his 
prophesying what we might not pay six annas for, in 
the course of our crass philanthropy, he himself con- 
ducted us about and to the tomb of Khusrau, " the 
sweet-singing parrot of India, memsahib. ' ' Khusrau 
was a Turk, but his Persian verses were so beautiful 
that Sadi made a pilgrimage from Persia to pay hom- 
age, and to this day all the gild of Delhi musicians 
and dancers remember him with garlands and bou- 
quets. In this group of tombs is that of Jahanira, 
the daughter of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz-i-Mahal, 
who is a very real personage. Her years of devotion 
to her blind and captive father, her long life of 
piety and goodness, dying unmarried at the age of 
sixty-seven, warranted her burial in the Taj Mahal, 
or the Jama Mas j id at Agra, built especially for her, 
rather than with that mixed but interesting com- 
pany in the suburbs of Delhi. 

The most beautiful tomb of them all is that of 
Mirza Jahangir, Akbar's son,— a platform of white 
marble supporting a white marble screen, with heavy 
doors of marble carved in low relief, likewise the 



230 WINTER INDIA 

lintels, cornice, and base— a dream of decoration, a 
symphony in white. Near by is another arrange- 
ment in white marble in low relief and latticework 
surrounding unhappy Mohammed, once the wearer 
of the Koh-i-nur and occupant of the Peacock 
Throne, who concealed the great diamond in his 
turban and then was courteously invited to change 
turbans by Nadir Shah. If ever death had beautiful 
and artistic recompense, "it is here, it is here, it is 
here," surely. Remembering the monstrosities of 
monuments and mausoleums in our Western grave- 
yards, the broken columns, cremation urns, and mis- 
applied Greek vase shapes that make our cemeteries 
places of horror, one wishes that committees on 
American public monuments and memorials might 
study these Indian tombs. Akbar's brother has also 
a marble sarcophagus carved in finest lacework, that 
rests under a great open pavilion, a marble canopy 
supported by sixty-four carved columns. While we 
stood enthusiastic by this exquisite tomb, comparing 
it with the domed sentry-box by the Hudson where 
lies America's greatest soldier, a piercing wail arose. 
A lone turban on a near roof was waving a yak-tail 
in air as the voice wailed so dismally. Soon black 
specks in the furthest sky defined themselves as hur- 
rying bird-shapes, hovered like gigantic butterflies 
directly between us and the zenith sun, and whirled 
in prismatic beauty to our feet, a homing flock of 
pigeons. Like foot-soldiers, these winged creatures 
obeyed the voice and signals of their keeper, went 
through their evolutions, and caught the grain 
thrown in air. Afterward we recognized the pigeon- 




DETAIL OF KUTAB illXAR. 



OLD DELHI 233 

keeper's frequent cry from Delhi roofs, and watched 
obedient flocks circle and wheel at the will of in- 
visible owners. 

After five miles of temples, tombs, and graves we 
had had our fill of mortuary constructions, and, to 
the consternation of the bearer, refused to descend 
for Safdar Jang's tomb. "What, memsahib! Not 
see Safdar Jang? Everybody must see. Very nice 
tomb. Three-story place, that tomb. Gentries al- 
ways go see that tomb." But we were obdurate. 
Safdar Jang was only the unlucky vizier of an in- 
conspicuous Somebody Shah, and Fergusson had 
said that the mausoleum would "not bear close in- 
spection." 

All this time we were conscious of a slender, dark 
lance lifted against the sky-line. It was what we 
had come so far to see— the Kutab minar, one of the 
seven great sights of India, and certainly the most 
beautiful tower in the world. It grew as we ad- 
vanced, until each angle, balcony, and band of let- 
tering on its three red sandstone sections declared 
itself, and the flat, white marble sections at the sum- 
mit were merged in inconspicuous perspective. This 
remarkable Kutab is emphatically such a departure 
from all the round or square towers ever seen that 
one has no wish to consider how it might have looked 
if constructed of one material throughout, or if the 
bands of ornament, the balconies, and the honey- 
comb work had been omitted. It is so richly deco- 
rated, it is itself so decorative, that at moments it 
seems as if it were only the fancy of a season, a mere 
World's Fair fantasy in staff or stucco, instead of a 



234 WINTER INDIA 

solidly built tower that has stood there for a thou- 
sand years, enduring earthquakes and sieges, and 
restorations by the later Moguls. One has to mount 
the roof of the mosque and see the great shaft at the 
level of its lowest bands of ornament to realize its 
size and the beauty and sharpness of those bold let- 
ters. One willingly traverses rubbish-heaps to do 
homage to the builder, Kutab-uddin, the Pathan 
ruler, who rose from slavery to the throne, and who, 
before the completion of his Tower of Victory, was 
laid away. One feels a personal loss and depriva- 
tion, too, that Ala-uddin, two centuries later, did 
not finish his great minaret, which would have re- 
peated the Kutab on larger lines, and mounted five 
hundred feet in air,— twice the height of the Kutab, 
— the entire surface faced with carved stones. View- 
ing the Kutab at close range and from afar, one re- 
members pityingly the campaniles and giraldas, obe- 
lisks, spires, and pinnacles of the West. They used 
to do this thing so much better in India. 

The Kutab is so entirely the thing at Old Delhi, 
that one lags in enthusiasm over the mosque, with 
its ruined arches and its hundred carved columns, 
spoil of Buddhist and Jain temples that the Pathans 
destroyed. To-day interest in the mosque court cen- 
ters in the wrought-iron column, whose Sanskrit 
inscription dates back to the first century of our era. 
Native tourists flock to it as the great sight, and 
believe that if one reaches around the column back- 
ward and touches his hands together, good luck will 
follow him. The tomb of Altamsh, who built the 
mosque, and the one remaining gate of the court 



OLD DELHI 235 

declare the scale of ornamentation that once covered 
all these crumbled walls and arches. Every inch of 
the roofless tomb is covered with carved ornament,— 
inscriptions, traceries, arabesques, and geometrical 
designs — the most ornamented mausoleum in India. 

In the chilly, whitewashed vaults of the rest- 
house in the shadow of the Kutab, with dusty 
chicks to exclude any pernicious sunshine, we shiv- 
ered over the cold, cold tifSn we had brought with us. 
Not hot bouillion nor hot chocolate could mitigate 
the death chill of that interior, or our interiors, and 
we hastened to drive with the wind four miles to the 
tomb of Tughlak. That massive, fortress-like place, 
of characteristic Egyptian solidity, was in extreme 
contrast to the highly ornamented tombs we had 
been seeing all day. The sloping walls and the en- 
tire absence of ornament came as a surprise, but the 
Pathan emperor has the ideal warrior's tomb. A 
crumbling wall half screens the ruins of his de- 
serted capital of Tughlakabad, within which Tugh- 
lak 's fortress is as Egyptian as his suburban tomb. 

Some street-dancers pleaded with us at the hotel 
door, followed around and tapped on our windows, 
and we relented and moved the tea-table to the ter- 
race, where it was really warmer than in the house. 
The two women, in cheap cottons and cheap jew- 
elry, posed and whirled to a monotonous measure 
beaten on a skin drum. One woman gracefully car- 
ried a tiny child on her hip, or set it down on the 
cold flags, where it played contentedly with its fin- 
gers. Both dancers wore voluminous accordion- 
plaited skirts of red cotton, with yellow head-sheets 

13 



236 WINTEE INDIA 

patterned in red, and they were covered, as with 
breastplates, by many silver-coin necklaces. One 
dancer was a tall, sinuous creature, with a mark- 
edly Jewish or Egyptian face, who did the serpen- 
tine dance of Cairo cafes, and bent backward to pick 
up a rupee from the ground with her eyelids. 
Every step was marked by the jingle and clash of 
her bracelets and anklets, and this serpent of old 
Jumna, after one lively measure, paused and spread 
out her crinkled draperies in great butterfly-wings 
behind her in a "Loie Fuller pose" as old as Delhi. 
We had lamps and more lamps brought, eyes and 
turbans uncounted gathered in the dusk, and, in- 
spired by native approval and tourist rupees, the 
skirt dance went on through many figures. 

We sent runners to find them the next morn- 
ing. We wanted them to dance at noon, that we 
might turn a battery of kodaks upon them. "Those 
are very poor, common dancers," said the bearer, 
scornfully. ''I will get very splendid nautches, in 
silk and kincob saris and very splendid jewels, in 
'niklasses' and 'griddles' of rubies and pearls." 
But we wanted only those same dancers in their 
cheap clothes and silver necklaces and girdles; and 
it took insistence to get them. They came; and in 
the sunlight their silver and glass, brass and lac jew- 
elry were as gems, and our enthusiasm was greater 
than that of the night before. They danced their 
best, held their poses interminably for the time ex- 
posures, and we reeled film away so recklessly that 
the hotel manager said: "Oh, madam, if you have 
so many plates to spare, won't you take my baby?" 




STREET DAXCEES. DELHI. 



CHAPTER XVIII 



LAHORE 




VEN the Delhi bullocks were blanketed 
the day we left for Lahore and the 
farther, colder Northwest. We had 
bought more and more razais as we 
went up-country, until the bichauna, 
or rolls of traveling bedding, would barely pass 
through a car door, and, finally, yards of heavy pash- 
mina cloth to wind around us in makeshift Indian 
fashion. The memorial Mutiny cross, standing high 
on the Ridge, was the last seen of Delhi; and there 
followed a few wayside stations with sliivering plat- 
form groups, an uninteresting sunset over a dusty, 
barren plain; dinner at Saharanpur, and merciful 
darkness, while we jolted on until five o'clock in the 
morning. 

It was dark night when we were whirled through 
Lahore's frosty streets, to find warm rooms with 
real coal fires in open grates. We reappeared with the 
latest British breakf asters at the long table d'hote, 
and in the city of his youth we found a whole table 
full of Kipling characters— English army people 
and civil servants. We could almost call them all 
by name, and life at that hotel was a continuous 

239 



240 WINTER INDIA 

dramatization of stories known by heart. What a 
company they were ! And how they denied their 
maker, or portrait-painter, when we said Kipling to 
them! There was the major's wife, fat, brune, and 
long past forty, wrinkles drawn in lines of pearl 
powder around her eyes and under her chin. She 
wore a youthful sailor-hat, a frizzed front, and a 
Bath bun, and had all the kittenish w^ays of sweet 
sixteen. Her most devoted cavalier, in a cloud of 
attentive subalterns, was a callow blond, young 
enough to be her grandson ; and if there had been no 
one else in the hotel, we should have had entertain- 
ment enough in the kitten-play of this elderly 
charmer. When not making eyes and simpering at 
her courtiers, she queened it over the "lef tenants' " 
and captains' wives, and was inclined to snub a 
commissioner's daughter. She looked us over criti- 
cally through a lorgnette, just as we had stared at 
the tigers and chetahs at the Zoo, and put to us 
those direct British questions that the rural Yankee 
cannot match. Having disclosed our relationships, 
our nationality, our past and future itinerary, and 
explained the other tourists as far as we knew" 
them, we reversed the situation in Li Hung Chang 
fashion, and interviewed the interviewer. It always 
touches the sensitive nerve and presses the button of 
Anglo-Indian loquacity to mention Kipling, and 
away went the major's lady like a steeplechaser 
when we said that Lahore only meant Kipling to 
us. "No one in India reads Kipling," she said im- 
pressively. "We do not esteem him at all. He does 
not tell the truth about anything. Why, he was a 



LAHORE 241 

very common, low sort of person here. He only 
associated with the 'Tommies,' as you see by his 
books— all full of things about the serf^eants' and 
the soldiers' wives and their class. Of course, as he 
never associated witli ladies, or went with the nice 
chaps of the regiments, how could he know anything 
about society, about Government House, or the 
Simla sets? Why, in that ridiculous story—" and 
she told me in detail how he had it all wrong about 
the Gadsbj^s, the Hauksbees, and others ; for she knew 
some people who were in Simla that year, and it was 
this way, etc., etc. In fact, all those ancient and 
historic scandals were degrees worse than Kipling 
makes them out; for the Anglo-Indians allow no 
imagination to the novelist, every tale must be iden- 
tified with some real event in their own experience. 
As to whether Kipling truly delineated native char- 
acter — ''Dear me, how should I know anything 
about the nasty creatures ! As if we paid any at- 
tention to them ! Government has schools and does 
altogether too much for them, anyhow." And then 
the memsahib, who of course did not speak Hindu- 
stani, who never came in contact with native women 
of any but the servant class, and who fitted exactly 
into the situation that Mrs. Steele upbraids, de- 
nounced that champion of the native people. It was 
quite like the Creoles of New Orleans and Mr. Cable ; 
but having heard Macaulay berated, Max Miiller 
scoffed at, and Sir AVilliam Hunter denounced, it 
was taken with many grains of salt. 

More interesting than anything inside the La- 
hore Museum is the fine old bronze cannon before its 



242 WINTER INDIA 

door — the Sikhs cherished Zamzamah, a national 
trophy glorified to them by history and legend, and 
immortalized to all English-speaking people as the 
gun bestrode by Kim the Rishti, when the Lama 
first appeared to him. The rich collections in the 
"wonder-house" were assembled and arranged by 
the elder Kipling, the white-bearded curator whom 
the Lama met there. Its unique treasures are the 
Greco-Buddhist sculptures which General Cunning- 
ham found on the site of the ancient Gandhara 
(modem Peshawar), capital of the Scythian empire 
when Buddhism was the state religion— majestic 
statues of Gautama as priest and prince, and bas- 
reliefs as exquisite as the Alexander sarcophagus. 
The arts of later India are well shown, and fine old 
carved and inlaid doors, panels, balconies, window 
latticings, and house-fronts serve as models for the 
students of the art school which J. L. Kipling 
founded and directed to such successful degree be- 
fore he left India. Copies of these old carvings are 
sold at prices that torment the American, who, after 
paying their cost and transportation, nearly must 
pay for them over again at his home custom-house, 
in order to protect steam furniture-factories. Sil- 
ver, brass- and copper-work, lacquers, potteries, tex- 
tiles, and embroideries from the Panjab are gathered 
there, and the model of the Koh-i-nur has pathetic 
interest in Lahore, its last home. In January the 
stone walls and stone floors of the museum create 
an ice-edged atmosphere more benumbing than the 
death-dealing chill of the Lateran galleries in Rome, 
and one soon flees from it. 



LAHORE 243 

The tomb of Anarkali, given first place in the 
guide-book, and warranted the most interesting thing 
in Lahore, drew us to the domed white building, in 
turn occupied as the English civilian church and as 
local offices. Anarkali, pretty "Pomegranate Blos- 
som," was one of Akbar's wives, and, being seen 
to smile when Akbar's son, Jahangir, entered the 
harem, was buried alive. Akbar held the trial after 
the execution, and must have had a very bad con- 
science, judging from the beauty of the little mau- 
soleum and the white marble sarcophagus, covered 
every inch with the finest ornament and lettering 
in relief. It is a thing to be kept under glass and 
shown as the chief treasure of a museum ; but Brit- 
ish officialdom has shoved it aside, out from under 
the center of its dome, to an alcove where we pur- 
sued it around desks and braziers and wooden chairs, 
a babu in woolen neck-comforter obligingly lifting 
a heap of papers that we might see all the sculptured 
surface. Throughout Lahore splendid Moslem 
tombs were turned to practical use after British 
occupation. Even Government House was adapted 
from the tomb of Akbar's cousin, with additions to 
meet later requirements. When such desecration be- 
gan, the angry Mohammedans foretold death within 
a year to all such vandals, and when any prophet's 
reputation was at stake he took care that poison, as 
a last resort, should verify his forecast. The Bengali 
babus perched on high stools around the mauso- 
leum were amused at our indignant comments. No- 
thing could please them more than any affronts to 
Mohammedan prejudices or sensibilities, and the 



244 WINTER INDIA 

hatred between the men of the two religions is 
something one slowly realizes. The Mohammedan 
despises the Hindu and his sacred cow, and loves to 
kill and eat the peacock, while, in return, the Hindu 
delights in defiling Mohammedan precincts with the 
loathed dog and pig; and in Lahore the Sikhs are 
against both religions and have long scores to settle. 
In "On the City Walls," Kipling shows the tur- 
moil accompanying any religious festival. The Mo- 
hammedan deeply hates the babu, but until the re- 
cent establishment of the Aligarh College had made 
no effort to put forward Mohammedan youth as rival 
to the glib Bengali in preparing for public service. 
The street crowds of Lahore were more pictur- 
esque even than those of Delhi. A different type of 
man had appeared overnight, or rather the occa- 
sional whiskered giants seen on the Chandni Chauk 
were here universal — more beard, more turban, 
yards and yards more cloth in the baggy trousers 
and shoulder shawls. The long coats of the Persians, 
the flaring, crossed Chinese coat of Turkestan and 
Tibet appeared, and there were stray Afghans, too, 
picturesque and ferocious giants, wearing peaked tur- 
bans, sheepskin coats, and striped shoulder shawls. 
When we had left the orderly civil lines and had 
gone through the city gates, we entered the land 
of the Arabian Nights, more of color, incident, and 
picturesqueness to be seen in the bazaars of Lahore 
than anywhere else in India. Queer, ramshackle 
houses towered along the narrow streets, some fres- 
coed in colors, their fronts broken by balconies, log- 
gias, bay-windows, and latticings of dark, carved 



LAHORE 247 

wood, with flat roofs and parapets at every elevation 
—roofs that Kim ran over, roofs where the women 
gasped in ''The City of Dreadful Night"; for, al- 
though Lahore is so far north, it is one of the hottest 
places in summer,— Meean Mir cantonment the ac- 
knowledged **oven of India," where epidemics al- 
ways rage their worst. 

All Lahore was muffled and bundled in cotton 
clothes and brilliant chuddas, and all sought the 
sun that crisp, frosty morning, until the streets held 
a living, moving rainbow mass and every shop-front 
seemed set for color effect. Women in gay head- 
sheets and children in satin jackets sunned them- 
selves in window-frames of dark-brown fretted wood- 
work; and Mohammedan women in white cloaks 
falling full from round crown-pieces, with latticed 
holes for the eyes, wandered in the brilliant company, 
giving it still more the air of a fancy-dress ball. The 
carnival crowds, moving against such fantastic back- 
ground, made one listen for slow music to accom- 
pany this stately spectacular march. It seemed as 
though the Lahore bazaars were but painted wings, 
drops, and flies, the crowds one well-drilled theatri- 
cal troupe— a continuous performance kept up for 
our benefit. All the industries were picturesque, 
every shop decorative, and we stood fascinated, 
to watch the baker reaching down into the deep mud 
oven with a hooked wire and bringing out pancake 
loaves of bread ; the dyer stirring his vats, wring- 
ing out lengths of cloth and festooning them over 
the front of his shop ; the printer, next door, stamp- 
ing block patterns on turban ends, and the Kash- 



248 WINTER INDIA 

miri men and boys, cross-legged in alcoves, em- 
broidering gold turban ends or fine shaAvl borders. 
One Kashmiri in purple satin jacket and a yellow 
turban worked with gold wire, while a small boy 
in a sleeveless red jacket and a woman in a head- 
sheet of vivid pink looked on. Heaps of oranges 
and pale bananas, red Kashmiri apples, and green 
Kabul grapes made set color studies on every fruit- 
stand. The dried-sweetmeat shops were as rich in 
combinations of browns and tawny orange, and the 
curry-shops were as satisfying with their strands 
of red peppers and baskets of red, white, yellow, 
brown, and greenish meal. Candy-sellers crouched 
in the open with trays of sticky sweets, beseeching 
us to keep our shadows away. Having thus defiled a 
tray of gujack, we bought it and found many idlers 
willing to eat the defiled sesame brittle, made of 
sesame seeds, sorghum syrup, seedless raisins, al- 
mond meal, and crescents of thin cocoanut strips, 
the rich "fudge" rolled out in a thin pancake over 
a foot in diameter. Silk-shops, brass- and pottery- 
shops, gem-cutters' and shoemakers' dens, were all 
decorative and interesting. The tea-shops, with 
steaming samovars, were significant of the dreaded 
Russian advance and influence. The red beans of 
New England and pop-corn had a familiar look even 
in such strange environment. 

After a revel in this living picturesqueness we 
went ruefully back to conventional sight-seeing and 
did the Jama Masjid, with its superb inlaid arches, 
and saw the relics of the Prophet. We saw Run- 
jeet Singh's tomb, its carved doors and gay mirror 



LAHORE 249 

and plaster interior, where Sikh priests shouted 
from the sacred books, waved peacock feathers, and 
threw jasmine garlands over us. We saw also Ak- 
bar's fort and palace— tawdry and flat after the 
splendors of Delhi ; our fancy arrested by the inlaid 
hall known as the Naulahka, name also of a quar- 
ter of the outer city of Lahore. When the Sikhs 
captured Lahore they wreaked themselves on these 
halls of Jahangir and Shah Jahan, and the British 
barrack-builder has done the rest. The Scotch cor- 
poral who showed us through dwelt mostly on some 
finely damascened and grained guns, chain-mail, 
swords, and Sikh knives in the armory. In one 
pavilion the fantastic mirror and plaster walls were 
crying aloud at some hideous European carpets and 
furnitui'e— the rankest of "Tottenham Court Road 
furniture." Small wonder that the Viceroy exhorted 
the Indian princes to patronize their own craftsmen 
when it came to palace furnishings. This pavilion 
commands a fine view out over the parapet of the 
city wall to the park below, with the blue windings 
of the Ravi beyond distant trees; but the best-re- 
membered palace sight was a Sikh sergeant's wife, 
who was a walking jewel-show, covered from crown 
to ringed toe with such an array of ornaments as 
one might expect an emperor's favorite to wear. We 
expressed our thanks for the pleasure of seeing her, 
to the amusement of the Scot and the pride of the 
Sikh proprietor of the jeweled jade. 

After a hasty tiffin with the Kipling crowd, who 
were full bent on the regimental tea and polo-match 
of the afternoon, we took a hastier look at the un- 



250 WINTER INDIA 

usual animals of the ''lion and tiger museum," 
where the most remarkable sight was a monkey hold- 
ing a looking-glass that it might see to pick its 
teeth and prick its throat with a dangerous-looking 
darning-needle. We hastened back to the native 
city, and from the time we left the "Europe shops" 
and the avenue of trees with shabby tram-cars jin- 
gling by and penetrated the city gate, we moved 
in an ideal East, an Arabian Nights' revel of Mo- 
hammedan picturesqueness. The half-mile bazaar 
between Vazir Khan's and the Golden Mosque is 
the heart of Lahore, all the people and trades of 
the Panjab being exhibited there. In that narrow 
lane between the balconied houses, where every win- 
dow flaunted some flaming turban or shawl, and 
each alcove shop was set for theatrical effect and 
overflowed to the street, there moved the same bril- 
liantly costumed company of the morning. All pic- 
turesqueness and color centered in greatest intensity 
at the gateway of the Vazir Kllian Mosque, single 
figures and groups in tableaux tempting the kodak, 
until we feared we should have no more film left 
after Lahore. Before that glorious portal, its fa- 
cade a dream of soft old Persian tiles, there con- 
gregated barbers, beggars, peddlers, money-chang- 
ers, letter-writers, and smithies, prostrate bullocks, 
venders of fat-tailed sheep, donkeys loaded with 
vegetables, hawkers, idlers, and busy people of every 
kind. "Remove thy heart from the gardens of the 
world, and know that this building is the true abode 
of man," is written in slender letters on the blue 
and green Persian tiles of the mosque front; and 




SCriOOL-BUVS IX THK VA/.li; KUAN MoscilK. l,Aniil;i;, 




AKilIlAN l-ALcnNKK. I'KSIl A \V A I; 



LAHORE 253 

a legion of beggars have taken the Vazir at his 
word, lounging on the steps and in sunny corners 
all day, and sleeping at night in the quiet court over- 
looked by two minarets. Professional menders sit 
patching rags as though waiting for kodaks to come 
that way, and a balcony off the cloister overlooks the 
busy street, exactly as an opera-box commands less 
spectacular effects. 

There was a sound like the chirp of many birds, 
and a school-teacher led three hundred small boys 
into the court. Each youngster put his books, coat, 
shoes, and turban-cloth in a heap, and knelt by the 
tank to bathe hands and feet before prayer. The 
teacher patrolled the lines with a stick, trouncing 
a laggard here and thrashing a boy there into the 
line and order of piety. When the unruly and rest- 
less flock were purified, a leader among them gave a 
call, and all filed in under the arches and prostrated 
themselves on the inlaid floor, facing westward to 
Mecca. One small turban explained to us that they 
came there every day to "pray to God," and the 
pious scamp showed me on the last leaf of his school- 
book : " In the name of God, the Most Merciful, this 
is my book. The property of Hassan Khan. Do 
not steal." 

When we had seen the three gilded bubble domes 
of the Golden Mosque reflected in the tank of its 
white court, and the Hindus going through their 
purification rites at the temple by the bo-tree, the 
bearer was for carrying us back through the Delhi 
Gate to the silver-shops and Europe shops and the 
shops for Kashmir work and Bokhara silks, to 



254 WINTER INDIA 

hunt for green slippers with seed-pearl toes, for 
Peshawar shoes woven of strips of leather on models 
used by Alexander the Great's shoemaker— to hunt 
for Yarkand jade and Ladak turquoises, but our 
interest in such shops was gone. "Drive back," we 
said; and, repassing the mosque, we threaded again 
all those brilliant bazaars, were blocked in a narrow 
lane by a funeral, and came out finally on a common 
by the fort, where men and boys were flying kites. 
A crowd was jeering and cheering the fliers, and 
one bearded parent soundly boxed his son's ears 
when he bungled in launching his paper shield. 
"Drive back," and we worked slowly again to the 
Delhi Gate, where the crowds had even increased. 
Once more we threaded the brilliant labyrinth and 
saw the kite-fliers reel in their chargers. A spec- 
tacular sunset fired the sky, and when for the fifth 
time we traversed the narrow lanes, they were lanes 
of twinkling enchantment, every window and alcove 
carrying its kerosene-lamp and torches flaring by 
the Vazir Khan. The frosty air was laden with the 
bazaar's mixed smell of raw sugar, incense, spices, 
grease, and wood smoke, and only a dinner-company 
of Kipling's own could have drawn us away. 

It was almost a surprise the next morning to find 
the streets, the shops, the crowds, the tiled front 
of the mosque all there, to find Lahore bazaars solid 
realities, and not dreams. We saw Shalimar Gar- 
dens, the triple-terraced home of the nightingale, 
once an imperial pleasure-ground, arranged like one 
seen in dreams, but now a rather dusty, dreary place 
of formal flower-beds, fountains, marble cascades, 



LAHORE 255 

and canals, that becomes a palace garden of enchant- 
ment when illuminated for viceregal functions. More 
interesting was the drive to the Ravi and across 
a bridge of boats, where the passage of bullock-carts 
and trains of donkeys was regulated by the bridge- 
keeper's drum-beats. We found Jahangir's tomb 
deep down in a square marble terrace in another 
formal garden, where orange-trees hung full of fruit 
and flower-beds were masses of bloom. This son of 
Akbar, the reputed Christian, who at least wore a 
rosary and was so bad a Moslem that he drank to 
inebriety, spent his summers in the Vale of Kashmir 
with his clever Persian wife, Nur Jahan,— Nur Ma- 
hal, the Harem's Pride, told of in ''Lalla Rookh,"and 
who seems a very real personage. He is laid away 
in an octagonal chamber deep down in a solid square 
terrace, in such a cenotaph as rivals that of Anar- 
kali. Instead of white relief carving, Jahangir's 
sarcophagus is inlaid, quite the most beautiful piece 
of pietra dura that I had seen. Flowers and ara- 
besques are inlaid with large pieces of amethyst, 
lapis, jade, and carnelian, and the ninety-nine 
names of Allah in fine black marble letters sur- 
round the sarcophagus. Runjeet Singh despoiled the 
tomb of its upper pavilions and marble pavement, 
but the British have repaved and restored the ter- 
race—and viceregal tea-tables are now spread di- 
rectly over the body of Jahangir, and all is as gay 
as when he made it a feast-place before his death. 




CHAPTER XIX 

THE END OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE 

j|T was a damp and dreary, a raw and 
chilly afternoon when we drove away 
from Kipling's people and waited for 
an hour in that drafty, echoing for- 
tress — the Lahore railway station. 
The Northern Railway across the Pan jab, being a 
government line, is subject to delays and alterations 
of schedule to suit special needs, and the red car- 
pets at hand for the arrival of the "L. G. " of the 
Panjab on the following afternoon promised greater 
delays had we deferred our start. As all first-class 
cars are run at a loss on Indian railways, we could 
not complain at the usual forlorn conveyance; but 
the rattling window-panes of blue or violet glass, 
admitting the chill, actinic light, made the shabby 
car drearier and dingier than usual, and seemed to 
add degrees of cold to the air. The bleak and stony 
yellow plain, like the sage-brush and alkali wastes 
of Nevada, looked snow-covered through these tinted 
glasses, and the cold, blue, depressing light finally 
suggested the experiments made with invalids, luna- 
tics, and plants at the time of the blue-glass craze 

256 



THE END OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE 257 

and cure of so long ago. It was impossible to read 
in the jolting carriage, and we could only draw rugs 
and razais aBout us and watch the drear landscape 
roll by as the trucks thundered over the dusty road- 
bed. The groups on station platforms grew more 
pinched and more uncomfortable-looking, with cot- 
ton clothes more and more voluminous in cut, and 
streaming with more and more loose ends of extra 
drapery, as we ran on through the frosty, hazy glow 
of a sudden yellow sunset that, glorifying the white 
peaks of Kashmir, faded quickly to a green and a 
hyacinthine sky, and then to the blackness of winter 
night. 

The one weary lamp in the carriage did not give 
light enough for us to read and lay to heart the 
several framed ordinances which the government 
railway holds up to travelers. Evidently there is 
a ''dog question" in British India equal to the 
"cow question" in the Hindu and Mohammedan 
circles. "His Excellency the Governor-General in 
Council" had first to rule: 



DOGS IN CARRIAGES 

Passengers will not be allowed to take any dog into a pas- 
senger carriage, except with the permission of the Station Master 
at the starting station, and also with the consent of their fellow 
passengers, and then only on payment of a double fare for each 
dog, subject to the condition that it shall be removed if subse- 
quently objected to, no refund being given. This rule does not 
apply to dogs conveyed in reserved compartments, or carriages, 
or in private special trains. The number of dogs to be taken 
into a reserved compartment must not exceed three. 

14 



258 WINTEE INDIA 

And again it was intimated to the public in the 
formal phrase of a viceregal ball- or dinner-card, 
by a secretary, who said : 

I am directed to state that His Excellency the Governor- 
General in Coiincil considers it desirable in the interest of the 
travelling public to rule that in future no person shall be allowed 
to take any dog into a passenger carriage, except with the con- 
sent of the Station Master at starting station and also with the 
concurrence of the fellow passengers. 

At sunrise the next morning we saw the blue 
range of the Hindu Kush with a sprinkling of snow 
on its sharp crest-lines, and the same dreary, dry, 
stony plain around us, broken only by a few clay 
bluffs and the gullied watercourses of the rainy sea- 
son. The air was thin, sharp, and frosty as we low- 
ered the rattling blue window-panes for a look at the 
forlorn adobe village on the banks, and the great 
fortified bridge across the Indus at Attock — Attock ! 
the ford and crossing-place of every invader and 
conqueror from the North since Aryan times ; where 
every one of them camped and fought,— Egyptian, 
Persian, Greek, Scythian, Afghan, and Mogul, down 
to Nadir Shah. When the train had trailed slowly 
across the high iron girders and passed through an- 
other great fortress bridge-tower, it turned sharply 
and ran along the bank, giving us a view of the 
great picturesque front of Akbar's fort on the oppo- 
site bluff. Except for that imposing battlemented 
castle and fortified bridge, the muddy river, the 
banks, the stony plain, and the blue mountain-range 
showing so clearly in the thin, dry air, might as well 



THE END OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE 259 

have been the country of the upper Missouri; but 
this plain between the Indus and the Safed Koh has 
been a world 's battle-ground for more than two thou- 
sand years, and history is written on top of history 
like records on a palimpsest. Here at the Indus 
has always been the virtual frontier of India, the 
river drawing a natural line from the Himalayas 
down to the Persian Gulf; but, once advancing 
here to a valley and there to a range, the frontier 
has crept westward and northward, and is still ever- 
moving, changing, and elusive. 

At Khairabad station, facing Attoek, the early 
morning tea-table was ready on the platform, and 
muffled figures bore trays of steaming cups to the 
car windows, while benumbed travelers surrounded 
the tall samovar. The wildest lot of turbaned and 
disheveled folk, some in sheepskin coats and some 
wound over and looped up with unmanageable yards 
and yards of loose cotton clothing and loaded down 
with strange saddle-bags, bundles, water-jars, and 
hubble-bubble pipes, were already waiting when the 
train drew up. When the third-class passengers, 
who had been packed to standing-room all night, 
were bundled out and added to this waiting crowd 
while a fresh train w'as made up, there was spec- 
tacle indeed, local color too, and such an uproar as 
threatened the demolition of the Indian Empire— 
or at least the sacking of the train and the raz- 
ing of Khairabad station. The whole traveling pub- 
lic had changed overnight to the fierce Afghan type, 
which had been so picturesque when first seen in the 
bazaars of Lahore; and the vehement giants, tur- 



260 WINTER INDIA 

baned and bearded to exaggeration, ramped up and 
down the platform with bare feet thrust in loose, 
clattering Mohammedan shoes, shouldering and hus- 
tling one another in no gentle way. Despite the 
clamor and the crowding, as so many desperate 
tribesmen stormed and carried each third-class car- 
riage and filled every cubic inch of its space with 
their own superfluous size and belongings, the train 
finally drew away, leaving the platform full of left- 
over passengers— '4iuge, black-haired, scowling sons 
of Ben-i- Israel," who raged aloud in their wrath, 
until one felt sure the station-master must barri- 
fiade himself and the great guns of Attock thunder 
across the river before the uproar would subside. 
These tall, hairy, and noisy creatures, with peaked 
Afghan caps within their striped turban-cloths, were 
far removed from the soft and supple Hindus we 
had left in the South, unlike even the bearded Sikhs 
at Lahore. We had journeyed overnight to another 
country, had come again to a blue-eyed people, to 
the pale Aryans of the Northwest, to a race of wea- 
ther-beaten and ruddy-cheeked mountaineers, to the 
Pathans of Kipling's tales— tales so true, pictures 
so clearly painted, that one recognizes these hairy 
giants as fascinating old acquaintances, characters 
in fiction come to life. 

Crossing more of the same dreary, yellow plain, 
and nearing the mountain barrier, the train at last 
ran by the mud walls of a mud city in a mud plain, 
—Peshawar, Akbar's ''frontier city," the extreme 
northern outpost of the Indian Empire; nineteen 
hundred miles from Cape Comorin and two hun- 



THE END OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE 261 

dred and seventy-eight miles from Lahore— the lat- 
ter distance covered by fast-mail train in seventeen 
hours. The storied mud walls of the city were like 
adobe pueblos, and the same dry and treeless plain, 
dry, thin atmosphere, and glaring white sunlight of 
the American Southwest blinded us as we drove from 
the end of the track at the cantonment station to the 
drooping roses and poinsettias in the dusty gardens 
of the dak bangla. 

By previous correspondence with the commis- 
sioner at Peshawar— and here let me bear testimony 
to the unfailing courtesy, the endless kindness, the 
considerate interest which every English official in 
India accords to the winter wanderers — through the 
kindness of this unknown northern commissioner 
we had been fully informed of the preparations 
necessary for a visit to the Khyber, and by dint 
of many telegrams everything was in train for our 
arrival. The khansamah at the bangla served his tiffin 
on the moment, and soon the babu of the political 
agent was there with the permits to travel the Khyber 
Pass as far as Ali Masjid on the following caravan 
day, and with an order for the detail of sowars of 
Khyber Rifles to act as escort. Straightway we 
judged horses and made bargains with splendidly 
whiskered old Hassan Khan at his hospital of 
broken vehicles in the bazaar, and quoted to him 
the while the commissioner's warning that the only 
danger in the Khyber Pass would be from the 
chance of an unbroken pony being put in harness. 
The turbaned one, with his hand on his heart, as- 
sured us that we should have the most safe and 



262 WINTER INDIA 

stately barouche and pair to convey us to Jamrud, 
at the entrance of the pass, at sunrise, and that he 
would speed us on thence toward Afghanistan and 
the elusive, illusive, ever-moving frontier in light 
dog-carts of the variety known to the natives as the 
"tum-tum" (tandem). All this for sixteen ru- 
pees, ''and what your ladyship may please." 

As "that narrow sword-cut in the hills" was open 
and guarded only on Tuesdays and Fridays, the 
two caravan days of each week, there was stir in 
Peshawar city and cantonment that day. Long 
caravan trains of camels and donkeys were then 
filing out and across the dusty plain to pass the 
night in the fortified serai below Jamrud fort, 
ready for a sunrise start through the defile to Lundi 
Khana at the Afghan end, where no white traveler 
goes, save by very special arrangement with civil 
and military authorities. 

Peshawar, once an Afghan city in fact, still bears 
all its Persian and Central Asian characteristics; 
and this flat-roofed city within its great mud walls 
is also a metropolis, a little Paris for all Central 
Asia, whither flock Afghans and turbaned folk from 
over the border to shop and spend their money, to 
luxuriate and dissipate in all the ways of Orient 
and Occident there combined, and to hatch fresh 
conspiracies against Pax Britannica, One must 
read his Kipling to enjoy Peshawar, and must see 
Peshawar and its people fully to enjoy Kipling. 
All through " The Man Who Would be King," 
"The Drums of the Fore and Aft," "The Man Who 
Was," "The Lost Regiment," and "Wee Willie 



THE END OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE 263 

Winkie, ' ' and in the " Ballad of the King 's Jest, ' ' are 
pictures and glimpses of Peshawar, the Pathans and 
the hills, that flash upon one's memory at every turn. 
With Peshawar, too, are associated all the great 
names of Anglo-Indian history of the past half-cen- 
tury,— Lawrence, Edwards, Nicholson, and both the 
Robertses. 

The great cantonment at the end of the track 
is one of the chief military stations of the empire, 
and while it rejoices in a crisp, electric air worthy 
of a sanatorium in midwinter, its climate for the 
rest of the year gives it an evil name. It is another of 
the many "ovens of India," where the thermometer 
rises to 102° and 110° every summer, and where the 
gray, beclouded, breathless dog-days during the 
rains aggravate men to madness. 

After all the other bazaars of India, after the 
Chandni Chauk of Delhi and the brilliant, theatri- 
cal, spectacular streets of Lahore, the bazaars of 
Peshawar were captivating out of all reason, and 
held us fascinated until dusk, when lamps and 
lanterns threw strange illumination upon all the 
picturesque people known to the Middle East. There 
was not so much color as at Lahore, perhaps; but 
the fiercely bearded ones, with their tremendous tur- 
l)ans, long chogas, or caftans, and gay vests, were 
so many hundreds of Vereshchagin's models turned 
loose, and kodak film was reeled away by the yard 
as long as the spool would turn. It was too strik- 
ing, too theatrical, and too spectacular to be the 
every-day life at even the farthest end of the em- 
pire. Each little open alcove of a shop along the 



264 WINTER INDIA 

broad street leading in from the Edwards Gate in 
the city wall held its tableau, its Vereshchagin 
group already posed, every man of them six feet 
tall, fierce and stalwart. These "Pathan devils," 
''these Kabul-ly men," as our bearer called them, 
were as truculent, turbulent, and untamed a lot as 
one could wish to see, and our bearer fairly quaked 
when one of these swashbucklers brushed against 
him, or a hook-nosed, wolfish red-beard scowled 
at him and contemptuously discussed him with a 
brother of Kabul. The Jewish cast of features was 
unmistakable, and the turbans and garments were 
identical with those worn by Moses and the prophets 
—a biblical picture, truly. These hulking giants 
who strode about like conquerors, these picturesque 
cutthroats and splendid fighting animals, are sup- 
posed to be harmless, from having been relieved 
of their arms and weapons when they entered 
British territory, but no doubt every one of them 
had a yard-long, triangular Afghan knife concealed 
within his baggy garments. All wore peaked caps 
within the turban-cloth and some heavy, striped 
blankets thrown theatrically over one shoulder, but 
the crocheted Afghan of fancy-work fairs was no- 
where to be seen— another disillusionment of travel. 
An unkempt old falconer with hooded bird on wrist, 
and just such a Scythian sort of barbarian next 
him as sculptors show in the train of Alexander the 
Great, were a pair that willingly posed for their 
portraits. 

There was such richness, such conglomeration and 
embarrassment of picturesqueness on every hand, 



THE END OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE 265 

that one needed the all-compassing eyes of a fly to 
see it. Persia's nearness was attested by the grace- 
ful shapes of water-pots, bottles and bowls, the dam- 
ascened metals and the blue-glazed pottery; and 
the Russian advance was there in visible, tangible 
form in the tall copper samovars that steamed and 
hissed in the frequent tea-shops— the hand of Russia 
seen in every such gathering-place, and the seeds of 
sedition lying in every bowl of tea. 

Disputing passage with a deliberate ox loaded 
with twice its bulk of fodder-cane, we came through 
a deep arch in a wall to the circular Bokhara, or silk 
bazaar, and to a dazzling picture all light and life 
and color in the blazing, blinding sunlight of that 
early, cloudless afternoon. Dens of alcove shops 
surrounded the great open space, where leafless trees 
cast thin traceries of shadows over the bare earth, 
and scores of men sat in groups in the sun, twirling 
reels of green, yellow, rose, and purple silks, toss- 
ing glistening skeins of every hue as they came 
fresh from traders' packs or dyers' vats. Bales of 
woven silks and shimmering lengths of gay tissues 
were heaped and spread over the floors of the tiny 
shops ; and sitting statuesque, or moving in and out 
among the whirling spindles, were Afghan and Bo- 
khara silk merchants and brokers, who brightened 
the scene with their gold-threaded and -fringed tur- 
ban-cloths, gold-embroidered and cloth-of-gold vests 
and waistcoats, and inner garments of gorgeous Bo- 
khara shadow-silks. From "silken Samarkand," 
from Bokhara and Kabul, these men come every win- 
ter to this silk bazaar, and huge bales of raw silks 



266 WINTER INDIA 

and woven stuffs were being unloaded that after- 
noon from groaning camels that had trod softly- 
down from the Khanates to kneel in the Peshawar 
oval— to be reloaded with Manchester piece-goods 
and tread slowly back again before hot weather. 

There were picturesque money-changers, too, in 
this bazaar — bearded and turbaned old Persians, 
wrapped in long and richly furred garments, sit- 
ting somnolent and prosperous in the sunshine, with 
loose heaps of coins from all the border countries 
before them. One even wondered if the rupees and 
annas, the unknown coins with crescents and Per- 
sian texts, and the yet more insidious rubles and 
copecks were real, — if they were not stage accessories 
and part of the tableaux rather than the visible 
capital and assets of genuine Shylocks. 

Color was rampant in the shoe bazaar, the long 
line of cobblers' lairs strewn and strung over with 
peaked slippers and great strips of brightest red. 
green, and yellow leathers, and hung in the sun- 
light to make a braver show. In all that leather ba- 
zaar we could not find a pair of the braided leather 
sandals or buskins that at southern railway stations 
are sold as Saharanpur or Kashmir shoes, farther 
north are called Lahore shoes, and in Lahore are 
called Peshawar shoes. The Pathan public very 
generally wore the same conventional Mohamme- 
dan heelless slippers, with the pointed and curling 
bows and high sterns of antique junks. Some 
few wore wood or rawhide sandals fastened by 
heavy thongs, the most primitive and archaic of 
foot-gear. There was a narrow strip of railed-off, 



THE END OP THE INDIAN EMPIRE 267 

sacred ground down the middle of this shoe bazaar, 
which held some venerated Moslem tombs, and scores 
of devout ones, ranging themselves before them, 
saluted the glowing west beyond which lay Mecca. 
They prostrated themselves on their bits of carpets, 
and prayed fervently, deaf to the hum of cobblers 
and idlers around them. 

There were sweetmeat sellers and sugar-cane ped- 
dlers hawking their wares through all the bazaars; 
letter-writers plying their craft in the open ; schools 
of small turbans rocking in studious circles around 
some pious teacher; and barbers, lawyers, peddlers, 
touts, and jugglers. And there were beggars, too ! 
Such beggars ! Such tattered and picturesque fig- 
ures as never before diverted one,— Afghan and Bo- 
khara beggars, shaggy and ragged beyond all the 
religious mendicants of India. Coats of a hundred 
patches hung in a hundred shreds from the frowzy, 
turbanless ones, and but half protected them from the 
keen mountain winds that blew through the bazaars 
at sunset. Many of these were Pathan ''saints," 
who live in caves in the hills, lead revolts, and urge 
the murder of unbelievers. The more holy of these 
beggars cast glances of scorn and hatred at us 
Kafirs or unbelievers; "white pagans," they called 
us, to the perturbation of our bearer, who seemed 
to fear that some one of these Islam saints might 
brain him with his long pipe-stem, but with six an- 
nas and a yard of sugar-cane the maddest molla of 
them all was bought over to stand tamely before the 
kodak. A few of the holy men coaxed annas from 
the crowds with songs and story-telling, — even an 



268 WINTER INDIA 

infidel anna came not amiss,— while others had for 
sale furs, rugs, and bits of soft jade or heavily- 
veined turquoise. Not this side of Samarkand had I 
expected to see men with rugs piled on their heads 
and shoulders, throwing them down at sight of a 
possible customer, and displaying there on the dusty 
ground what treasures or trash they possessed. 
Men with bales of furs and poshtins, or sheepskin 
coats, for sale, paraded the bazaars or lounged 
by gates and bridges. One scowling giant had for 
sale a dead peacock, a sacred Hindu bird, another 
showed a leopard-skin; and there were blue-eyed, 
woolly Persian cats on view, whose dispositions had 
been so crossed somewhere in transit that they would 
only spit, glare, and claw at any possible purchasers 
who ventured near. 

The jewelers' dens had their gossiping groups, 
and the leisurely jewel merchants produced bags, 
tins, and bottles of seventh-rate pearls and talisman 
turquoises, cemented on sticks, all quoted at soaring 
prices. A woman in a gaily-embroidered red and 
yellow phulkari or Afghan head-sheet, who sat 
watching the hammering of a bracelet, was a moving 
exhibit of jewels, that furnished a feast to the eye 
when combined with her own beauty. But we were 
plainly no feast to her scornful eyes, and, after a 
critical inventory of our dusty traveling attire, her 
glances and shrugs sufficiently translated her re- 
marks to the merchant of high prices and doubtful 
gems. 

Even to that far end of the Indian Empire, the 
tout dogged one's steps with his monotonous plead- 




1 UK .MAIi Mnl.l.A. I'KSH AWAl: 



THE END OP THE INDIAN EMPIRE 271 

ing : ' * Please come my shop ! Please come my shop ! ' * 
and our repeated "Jaos!" glanced harmlessly past 
his ear. To stop the whining pleas of the most per- 
sistent one we followed him down a side street, up a 
dark stairway, and on to a flat roof from which 
we reached inner rooms piled high with rugs and 
stuffs, where we might sit on floor cushions and toss 
glittering embroideries and rolls of shadowy-pat- 
terned Bokhara silks and sheeny stuffs from "silken 
Samarkand" to our hearts' content. In another 
shop men were busily ornamenting squares of dark 
cloth with showy Afghan waxwork. A pan of a 
white, waxy dough stood on a charcoal brazier beside 
each worker, who, laying a dab of the hot compound 
on the back of his hand as a palette, drew from it a 
long, viscous thread which he dropped in continuous 
arabesques and traceries over a faintly outlined pat- 
tern. This waxen relief was dusted over with silver, 
gold, or bronze powder before it cooled, and there 
resulted gaudy and tawdry curtains and table-covers, 
that in dusty, mildewed, and bedrabbled condition 
add to the fustiness and shabbiness of so many Brit- 
ish-India hotel interiors. 

There was a picturesque salt and corn bazaar in 
a vast open space, and the fragrance and the cheery 
music of popping corn drew us directly to the booth 
where, in a huge turban and tremendous trousers, 
the pop-corn man stirred the snapping kernels with 
a bunch of twigs in a great, shallow iron pan. The 
pan rested on the same rude mud oven and was fur- 
nished with the same layer of black sand as is used 
by hot-chestnut men in Peking and all North China. 



272 WINTER INDIA 

Peshawar pop-corn was as edible under its Pushtu 
name as at the Chicago World's Fair, barring the 
grit of the black sand driven into every snowy ker- 
nel. Sweetmeat shops and peddlers' stands over- 
flowed with gujack and kindred candies, thickly pep- 
pered with the dust of the streets. 

The caravans bring down the white Kabul grapes 
which, packed in cotton in small, round wooden boxes, 
are sold at remotest railway stations all over India 
each winter; and such mountainous stores of pis- 
tachios, almonds, walnuts, raisins, figs, and fruits 
from fertile Afghan and Persian vales, as made one 
imagine a great horn of plenty had been tipped 
through the Khyber Pass and its contents spread over 
Peshawar plain. For twenty centuries at least the 
povindahs, or traveling merchants, have brought car- 
avans down from Kabul, Bokhara, and Samarkand 
every autumn. They bring horses, wool, woolen 
stuffs, silks, dyes, gold thread, fruits, and precious 
stones, fighting and buying their way to British 
lines, where, leaving their arms, they are free and 
safe to wander at will to Delhi, Agra, and Calcutta, 
appearing even at Rangoon and Tuticorin each win- 
ter. The railway has changed something of their 
habits now, and all save the horse-dealers leave their 
animals to graze near Peshawar while they take 
train to the uttermost parts of the peninsula, and, 
returning when their wares are sold, lead their 
camels back to the cool plateaus and valleys of the 
north for the summer. 

Kafila, or caravans, bringing more and more of 
Afghan wares, were defiling in through the city 



THE END OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE 273 

gates, and toward sundown the great square of the 
caravansary was full of groaning camels, and the 
loads of merchandise grew to mountain heights. 
A fountain and a sacred spot of prayer is reserved 
in the center of the serai, and there caravan- 
men and camel-drivers cleansed and prayed, their 
faces to the west, oblivious of all the acre of pro- 
testing beasts and wrangling men, screaming ped- 
dlers, chanting beggars, and even the shouts of a 
bear-leader, who danced and wrestled with his 
shaggy pet to the very edges of the prayer-carpets. 
The serai's inclosure, the Ghor Kattri, has always 
been holy ground. On this spot first stood the great 
vihara of Kanishka's time that was four hundred 
feet high and a quarter of a mile in circumference, 
chief fane when all this valley was head center of 
Buddhism. To it came Pahien and Hiouen Thsang, 
those Chinese pilgrims of the fifth and seventh cen- 
turies, who, crossing Tatary and Turkestan, came 
down through the Khyber Pass to visit the holy 
lands of the Buddhist faith. In their time, too, a 
great suburban stupa sheltered the golden begging- 
bowl of Sakya-Muni, "the holy grail of Eastern 
legends," which, brought here from Benares, was 
carried to Persia, and then is said to have been 
looted by a marauder and taken to Kandahar; and 
Mohammedans treasure the so-called Buddha's bowl 
— a great bronze or iron caldron. Peshawar once 
had its Bodhi-druma (Tree of Knowledge), de- 
scendant of the Bo-tree at Buddha-Gaya, planted 
by Kanishka, the Scythian ruler of the Panjab, 
according to one legend j it had already grown 



274 WINTER INDIA 

to a shelter sufficient for Buddha when he ap- 
peared to foretell the coming of Kanishka, ac- 
cording to another version. At any rate, it was a 
pipul-tree of uncommon size, and held in such es- 
teem that the conquering Baber, the Bokharan, saw 
and described it when he came this way in 1505. All 
this Peshawar plain has yielded rich store of Bud- 
dhist relies, records, sculptures, and inscriptions, 
including the finest examples shown in the Lahore 
and Calcutta museums and in London. 

The holy spot of Peshawar, in these modern times, 
is the jail, where so many hillside saints from the 
border have been put for stalking British sentries, 
sniping stragglers, and inciting the tribesmen to 
mischief and revolt in the name of the Prophet, 
that the great barred building is crowded at times 
with these vagabonds. As the abode of saints, 
the building has all the sacredness and vogue of a 
temple, and is a place of popular pilgrimage. Fanatic 
Mohammedans have even committed petty crimes 
in bazaar and cantonment for the sole purpose of 
gaining admission to this saints' abode and rest: 
and, with such crazy people to deal with, one may 
well admire the spectacle of England's humane and 
patient rule on the border. 

From the top of the city wall near the old temple 
there was a fine view of the city, the hazy, lilac 
plain, and the snow-striped mountains just showing 
through the clouds of mingled dust and frost-haze 
on the Jamrud road. The rugged mountains rose 
and grew sharper in outline as the sun fell, one 
higher and whiter peak marking where the Khyber 



THE END OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE 275 

cleaves its way through to the Afghan plain of 
Jellalabad, only forty miles distant. But beyond 
the Safed Koh lies— Russia! And upon all that 
northwestern sky we saw projected the great shadow 
of the double eagle, rather than the Afghan sym- 
bol of the tree. 

The gold and ruby mists of the plain soon faded to 
cold violet shadows and purple darkness, and the 
flat white roofs around us were indefinite when the 
great demonstration in the sky was over. The crisp 
autumn air grew momently sharper as we haggled 
through the gharry door for a last bargain in Bo- 
khara silk, and drove, that January night, to the 
dark, cheerless, stone-floored dak bangla which stood 
a thousand feet above sea-level, north latitude thirty- 
four degrees, Fahrenheit many less. 



15 




CHAPTER XX 

THROUGH KHYBER PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 

NE who reads much of British and An- 
glo-Indian print learns that the In- 
dian Empire is not only bounded on 
the north by the Himalayas and their 
continuation, the Hindu Kush, but 
that running with these lofty boundaries are artifi- 
cial, imaginary lines marking the administrative, 
the defensive, the strategic, political, geographic, 
actual, military, temporary, and prospective fron- 
tiers. Then, too, says Lord Curzon (London Times, 
December 20, 1894) : "Our frontier must be, not hy- 
pothetical, fluctuating, adventitious, but definite, 
recognizable, scientific," adding yet more to the list 
of qualitative adjectives commonly applied to the 
word frontier— never meaning anything, however, 
but the northwest frontier, in Anglo-Indian speech. 
One might naturally wish to see the region of such 
an aggregation of frontiers, where boundaries run 
like contour-lines on a topographic map— the waver- 
ing, imaginary lines upon the earth's Asiatic sur- 
face, for which, and to which, literally, millions of 
lives have been sacrificed — expressions of an "idea" 
for which many more lives must be given. 

276 



THROUGH KHYBER PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 277 

One hears, too, the Russian advance daily dis- 
cussed and harped upon all over India, until it 
becomes as real a fact as the Aryan migration 
or the Mogul invasion, and one wishes to see 
where the next great history-making incident will 
certainly occur— the theater where the greatest 
world-drama since Timur's time will be played. 
One becomes so familiar with this fixed idea of the 
Russians coming down through the Khyber Pass 
and snatching the great jewel of the British crown, 
that he can jest with British friends about all 
Anglo-India lying awake of nights, frightened by 
the Russian bogy, and can advise them to rent the 
Panjab to Russia outright, and so have it over with 
quickly, and enjoy sound sleep again. But the 
Briton takes his northwest frontier— his many fron- 
tiers—seriously, sees the Russian hand in every lit- 
tle border war, and finds no humor in the charge 
that every time he cries, ' ' The Russian ! The Rus- 
sian!" as Afridis, Waziris, and Kafirs revolt, he 
is playing the part of the boy who too often cried, 
"The wolf! The wolf !"— albeit this boy claims 
to have found many incriminating documents and 
positive proof of the trail of the Muscovite wolf 
in the abandoned camps and villages of warring 
tribesmen. 

It was bitterly cold that night in the govern- 
ment house of rest for travelers ; and as the two 
opposite doors of our grand salon of a room gave 
directly upon garden and court, we had sweeps of 
icy air through it whenever a servant entered, and 
such currents across the floor from two-inch cracks 



278 WINTER INDIA 

below each door that we soon retreated to the high 
string-beds, and, wrapped in rugs and razais, 
longed for steam-heated and furnace-cheered 
America. The small pocket of a fireplace sheltered 
some hissing green twigs that smoldered and filled 
the room with smoke which refused to escape by a 
transom window sixteen feet up in the absurdly 
high, windward wall — which same north window 
was ropeless and wedged open to encourage further 
the icy drafts that encircled us. The khansamah, 
bearing the courses of the dinner, was swept in with 
a small gale each time, but we dined well on the 
usual Indian menu. The khansamah made a final 
entry on the wings of the wind, bearing proudly the 
proper British tart of conclusion. "But, missis — " 
he pleaded in injured tones when I too had said, 
"No, thanks." I had too often suffered in ar- 
guments with British pastry to hazard it in far 
places, but I relented to this courteous old soul and 
gave the heavy serving-spoon the swing and force 
of a golfer's club, when pouf! pou-s-sh! went a 
fountain spray of minute flakes of true puff-paste 
up into the air and down in showers all over the 
table. And we gathered them up— every last flimsy 
flakelet— and with praises consumed the khansa- 
mah 's masterpiece, the very apotheosis of covered 
apple-pie, the most supremely perfect tart the Brit- 
ish flag ever floated over — away off there in the 
shadow of the Hindu Kush, on the borderland of 
the heart of the world, close to the old Aryan home 
of the pie people's first ancestors. 

"Pie, sir," said Henry Ward Beecher, "goes with 



THROUGH KHYBEK PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 279 

civilization ; where there is no civilization, there is 
no pie. ' ' Hence Peshawar, etc. ; and one more count 
may be added to the great total of what England has 
done for India. 

In what seemed only the middle of that arctic 
night we heard our servant beating on the cook- 
house door with such an alarum as might herald the 
coming of the Russians; and after the misery of 
a candle-light breakfast we drove away in the frosty 
dawn, the sun rising behind us in a haze of pink and 
purple, lilac and burning crimson, as we made 
straight toward the mountain wall. The carriage- 
road to Jamrud fort runs for all the ten miles close 
beside the caravan track, on which were lines of slow- 
moving camels, enveloped in clouds of glorified 
golden dust— a fine, loose sort of powder, as light and 
dry and white as flour or snow, covering the broad 
caravan track five and six inches deep. Every one 
abroad was beating his arms and stamping his feet 
to keep warm, and we soon shrouded our heads in 
rugs as shelter from the icy wind and choking dust, 
and to hide from our sight the path of the projected 
railway which travelers now use to Jamrud. 

At Jamrud fort, towering picturesquely at the 
edge of the plain, we gave up the spacious carriage 
and waited for guard-mount and the signal-shot to 
declare the Khyber open for the day. This last 
British outpost was apparently the frontier. We 
must then have been close to Afghanistan. But 
no. Lord Curzon had written (London Times, Jan- 
uary 2, 1895), "Without exaggeration it may be 
said, that where Afghan territory commences, there 



280 WINTER INDIA 

British territory ends, and that the true British 
frontier is not at Jamrud, but at Lundi Khana. " 
Yet the political agent would not let us go even 
to that edge of India and look over; would only 
guarantee our safety to and let us drive as far 
as Ali Masjid, half-way to Lundi Khana. A merely 
hypothetical frontier that of Ali Masjid, and Jam- 
rud nothing but the administrative frontier. 

The native officer on duty at the Jamrud gates 
took our passes and presented the visitors' book, in 
which register it was written and underscored: 
''Gentlemen visiting Khyber Pass are requested not 
to give money to the sowars, as it is setting a dan- 
gerous precedent" — advice which seemed reason- 
able when my special military escort for the day 
appeared, climbed up promptly on the back seat of 
a tum-tum, and laid his Enfield rifle across his 
knee. We felt the need of arms ourselves when we 
saw that handsome, evil, reckless-looking young ban- 
dit playing knight-errant for the day, tidily dressed 
in brown khaki unifonn, his fine turban-cloth fringed 
with gold, and his lean, Israelitish face lighted with 
the evil eye of generations of robber ancestors. 

Low ridges before us rose to hills, and they to 
mountains, and three miles away at Kadam is the 
real entrance, the beginning of the pass that leads to 
Afghanistan and the mystic lands of Central Asia, 
through which a procession of conquerors have come. 
Out there have gone only the British, bent on puni- 
tive expeditions and to the questionable triumphs 
of what Sir Charles Dilke calls, ''thrashing the Af- 
ghans into loving us." 



THROUGH KHYBER PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 281 

No other mountain-pass in the world has had and 
retains such strategic importance and holds so many 
historic associations as this Khyber gateway to the 
Indian plain. In the thirty-three miles of its length 
it cuts through cliffs of shale and limestone rock, 
and from an elevation of sixteen hundred and sev- 
enty feet above the sea at Jamrud it rises to thirty- 
three hundred and seventy-three feet at Lundi Ko- 
tal, beyond Lundi Khana, and is never closed by 
snow in winter. One does not see snow-fields nor 
glaciers, nor the wild, stupendous scenery that such 
a pass in such a mountain-range should have. The 
winter is the season of greatest caravan trade and 
travel, since the original, woolly, two-humped Bac- 
trian camel, native of the Pamirs, does not endure 
hot weather well, and, as in North China, can only 
travel at night in midsummer, while he performs 
his longest journeys in winter. 

This mountainous borderland between India and 
Afghanistan is occupied by the independent tribes, 
who yield allegiance to neither emperor nor amir, 
who never have been nor will be brought thoroughly 
under subjection. Numbering over two hundred 
and fifty thousand, all Mohammedans, easily in- 
flamed through religious fanaticism, and ready to re- 
spond to any jehad, or holy war, these independent 
border tribes are to be counted with on every occa- 
sion. The twenty thousand Afridis living in the 
immediate Peshawar frontier are the most turbu- 
lent, fanatical, irresponsible tribe of all, ever ripe 
for revolt, always scheming and conspiring, ready 
to attack the power that supports them with sub- 



282 WINTER INDIA 

sidies,— literally quarreling with their own liread 
and butter, or, what is more vital, with their own 
powder and shot. Loot, ambush, and murder, rick- 
burning and cattle-poisoning are daily or nightly 
amusements of these fire-worshipers turned fire-eat- 
ers, who have waylaid, harried, and hung on the 
rear of every body of troops that ever entered this 
defile— even turning Alexander the Great away from 
the Khyber, so that Bucephalus was forced to pick 
his steps to northward and eastward and bear his 
master down through the Michni Pass to the Pesha- 
war plain. They have always lived by pillage and 
blackmail, taking a subsidy to guard and protect 
the British transport trains in the last Afghan war, 
and then plundering the baggage and commissariat 
trains every night, cutting off and sniping every 
straggler and deserter with as much zeal as they 
had shown in robbing Shere Ali's train. The steal- 
ing of arms and ammunition goes on all along the 
Peshawar border, neither Sepoys nor English sol- 
diers proving any match for these accomplished 
thieves, descended from generations of freebooters 
and plunderers, dedicated to the craft by regular 
ceremonies at birth, and holding skill in that line 
as their greatest pride and boast. They have stolen 
the carbines of European guards sleeping on those 
arms in the guard-house, taking even the sword of 
the sentry as he rested it against the wall beside 
him; and they maintain a steady freemasonry of 
communication with the British troops through spies 
and confederates in the native regiments and de- 
serters returned to their tribes. Any saint or 



THROUGH KHYBER PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 283 

akhoond or Mad Moll a can inflame them and start 
them on a religious crusade against the infidel, and 
every little hill village has its saint or saint's tomb 
to make it a place of distinction and pious pil- 
grimage. It is even told of one clan of Afridis 
that, lacking such pious attraction in their village, 
they lured a saint their way, killed him, and set up 
a tomb worthy of neighborly envy. 

"Nothing is finer than their physique, or worse 
than their morals," wrote Sir II. Edwards long ago; 
and Sir Richard Temple has said: "Now these tribes 
are savages, noble savages perhaps, and not with- 
out some tincture of virtue and generosity, but still 
absolutely barbarians, nevertheless. They have no- 
thing approaching to government or civil institu- 
tions ; they have, for the most part, no education ; 
they have nominally a religion, but Mohammedan- 
ism as understood by them is no better, or per- 
haps is actually worse, than the creeds of the wildest 
races of the earth. In their eyes the one great com- 
mandment is blood for blood, and fire and sword 
for all infidels." 

"We are content with discord, we are content 
with alarms, we are content with blood, but we will 
never be content with a master," said one of these 
turbulent turbans to Elphinstone; and the Amir 
was well rid of the lot when the Gandamak Treaty 
in 1879 declared these tribes independent, nominally 
under the political control of the British, who have 
vainly tried the policy of conciliation and subsidy 
varied with occasional thrashings. Only personal 
influence, and rough and ready, quick justice can 



284 WINTER INDIA 

avail with them. Colonel Warburton held them 
wonderfully in check for twenty years by a kindly, 
paternal rule, and their confidence in him justified 
the saying that his presence on the frontier was 
worth any ten garrisons. He retired when his age 
limit was reached, and on the heels of his departure 
came the revolt of the tribes and the closing of the 
Khyber. Colonel Warburton offered his services 
to return to India and try to pacify the tribes again, 
but they were declined, and the border war con- 
tinued from July, 1897, to January, 1898, General 
Lockhart for months employing against these hill 
guerrillas a greater army than that which defeated 
Napoleon at Waterloo. 

"The forward party" of Anglo-Indians argues 
that these border tribes are an inexhaustible recruit- 
ing-ground of the finest fighting material in the 
world, and that for the British not to avail them- 
selves of it would be virtually giving Russia this 
almost ready-made army. Another faction argues 
that the tribesmen, once drilled and taught the tac- 
tics of war, will be more formidable enemies of 
the British than ever, more ready to revolt, to join 
Afghans or Russians. Lugubrious prophets declare 
that when the struggle comes the British must 
win the first battle in Afghanistan or lose all India 
—the Mohammedan Nizam of Hyderabad, with his 
great army, being arbiter of the destinies of India, 
in any serious disturbances that may arise with 
Mohammedans on the northwest frontier. One 
specialist even wrote out and tabulated his fears 
in a "confidential book" to his government, in 



THROUGH KHYBER PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 285 

which he figured out every detail of the probable 
Russian transport problems, their line of march, the 
points of attack, and their possible resistance. A 
copy of this confidential and reliable guide to the 
conquest of India was promptly obtained by the 
Russian government, translated and sent broadcast 
through the Russian army as a manual of tactics, 
a handy sort of military Murray for Muscovite 
use when the Czar is quite ready for another win- 
ter visit to India. Russia has now reached the Pa- 
mirs and the borders of Kashmir; Bokhara is hers, 
and Persia, virtually; exploring parties of Russian 
soldiers have twice crossed the Hindu Kush, sur- 
prised of course to find they were in India, within 
British lines; and Kipling has depicted the Russian 
spy in "The Man Who Was," in which the retir- 
ing Dirkovich says, "Au revoir!" and, pointing to 
the Khyber, adds, ''That way is always open." 

The conquest of India is the dream and the duty 
of all Russians, and having closely followed every 
other clause of advice in that remarkable and much- 
questioned paper known as the will of Peter the 
Great, they are not once forgetting this one : 

VIII. Bear in mind that the commerce of India is the com- 
merce of the world, that he who can exclusively control it is the 
dictator of Europe ; no occasion should therefore be lost to pro- 
voke war with Persia, to hasten its decay, to advance to the 
Persian Gulf, and then to endeavor to re-establish the ancient 
trade of the Levant through Sj'ria. 

While England has been pushing her frontiers 
northward for the good of the native, and to give the 



286 WINTER INDIA 

Pathans good government, schools, hospitals, pure 
water, and sanitary redemption generally, Russia, 
the pure philanthropist, is pushing her frontiers 
southward with the sole object of evangelizing the 
Khanates and bringing these people out of spiritual 
darkness. 

Through the efforts of Colonel Warburton, for 
twenty years the political agent at Peshawar (and 
a worthy successor of those other splendid examples 
of the British official, Lawrence, Edwards, and 
Nicholson, and those rare men of earlier border and 
Mutiny days), the marauding tribesmen were taken 
in firm hand when their independence was guaran- 
teed. The Afridis themselves were made to guard 
and guarantee the safety of travelers in the Khyber, 
one of the most remarkable examples of setting 
a thief to catch a thief that was ever known. From 
1879 to 1897 the government paid an annual subsidy 
of eighty thousand rupees to the Afridi and Shin- 
wari clans on condition that they keep open and 
guard the caravan track through the pass, live in 
peace, and do not raid British territory. By tolls 
levied on each camel and vehicle passing Jamrud, 
the Indian government raised annually an amount 
sufficient to pay off part of the subsidy and main- 
tain "Colonel Warburton 's road," as the tribesmen 
call it. Following easy grades, this road could be as 
easily traversed by an artillery train as by light 
tum-tums ; although, to avoid expensive cuttings and 
tunnels, the projected railway into Afghanistan will 
follow the track of Alexander the Great along the 
Kabul River and through the Michni Pass. 








CAK.WANS IN llli; KIIYRKK I'ASS. 



THROUGH KHYBER PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 289 

Colonel Warburton made levies of tribesmen, con- 
stituted them the Khyber Rifles, to police and guard 
the pass, and assigned them to six fortified posts 
between Jamrud and Lundi Kotal, A force of eight 
hundred infantry and thirty troopers were recruited 
from the wild robbers of the region and set to keep- 
ing off the other robbers. The infantry were paid 
nine rupees a month, the troopers twenty-six rupees, 
each man providing his own khaki uniform, and 
the trooper the keep of his own horse. Their com- 
mander. Colonel Islam Khan, who drilled and 
brought the corps to such efficiency and roused in 
these hill guerrillas the military pride that seemed 
to animate them when once inside the Queen's uni- 
form, is a descendant of the former ruling Afghan 
family, and served with the British in the last Af- 
ghan war. On caravan days his sentries were sta- 
tioned at every hundred yards along the pass, troop- 
ers patrolled it, and the Khyber was as safe as 
Broadway or Piccadilly,— safe until the sunset gun 
proclaimed the military day ended, and the Khyber 
sowars, dropping uniforms and rifles, became pred- 
atory tribesmen again, ready to loot a camel, cut 
a throat, steal the arras of any soldier, or make away 
with any stray man, horse, or camel found out after 
dark. 

Bugle-calls and rifle-shots announced that the 
pass was open, the gates of the serai below Jamrud 
swung back, and some six hundred scornful and 
unhappy-looking camels, with great shags of fur on 
neck and legs, dragged their deliberate way out, and 
in single file went swayiag along the road to Af- 



290 WINTER INDIA 

ghanistan. Each belled leader was led by a man 
on foot, and other camels were fastened one to an- 
other by long guide-ropes. Groups of shaggy cara- 
van-men paused to pray by a wayside shrine at the 
outset of their journey, and then trudged on, they 
no better groomed, no more sociable or joyful than 
their camels. 

Our bearer was in a panic of fright. "Yes, you 
must drive fast," he said, with chattering teeth and 
timorous looks over his shoulder. "I tell you true. 
I am your servant, not your enemy. These Kabul-ly 
men are all Russians, enemies of the country, bad 
and dangerous. They shoot— hang ! They kill— 
hang! every time. They always rob. Hold fast your 
money. Let no one see your watch to-day. These 
Kabul-ly men are not men. They are animals— wild 
animals of the jungle. They fight, they cut, they 
shoot!— oh! oh!" 

**But there is the sowar and his gun. We need 
not be afraid," I said. 

"Yes," said the trembling Hindu, "that is just 
the danger. All these Pathans are devils. Sowar 
one day, robber next day. They take England's 
money; shoot and rob England's men. They are 
all Russians, enemies of the country. Just now the 
sowar is England's soldier. Pour-o'clock gun goes 
hang! and he is wild man again, England's enemy." 

The smooth, hard carriage-road wound farther in 
among the yellow hills, and the camel-train was 
soon far behind and out of sight. We were as an 
advance-guard, the first passengers of the day, and 
the riflemen sitting on the rocks and perched on 



THROUGH KHYBER PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 291 

hill crests every hundred yards exchanged greeting 
glances with the sowar that sent more cold chills 
down the inert Hindu spine. There were round stone 
towers and square mud towers of defense as thick 
as sentry-boxes, and the khaki clothes and turbans, 
toning in with the stones and barren ground, made 
many of the sentries invisible until we saw a gun- 
barrel move or a bayonet flash. It was a radiant, 
perfect, sunny day, the sky one vast pale turquoise, 
soft and pure and gently blue, and in among the 
hills the air was still, and only fresh enough to 
make the swift ride exhilarating. Around Kadam's 
mud hovels there were innumerable caves in the 
hills, where hermits had lived in meditation in Bud- 
dhist days, and where Mohammedan saints of un- 
washed and doubtful sanctity now spend lives of 
leisure, enjoying the climate and view, subsisting 
on villagers' offerings, and giving themselves to 
much mad exhortation, animadversion of England's 
rule, and mouthings of Allah il allah! 

There the pass really begins— a narrow ravine 
which runs between steep heights. Battlemented 
walls and far fortresses on crests suggested all the 
frontiers we had come to see, but it was a deserted 
road. There was no procession of brigands coming 
down steep places at the back of the stage, as would 
have become the historic pass. The identical defile 
where rode Timur and Jenghiz Khan, Baber the 
Bokharan, and Nadir Shah with the Great Mo- 
gul's Koh-i-nur in his turban and ten jeweled pea- 
cock thrones following after him— really, at the be- 
ginning, this defile lacks the wild, melodramatic 



292 WINTER INDIA 

scenery appropriate to its history. It was not as 
striking, in the landscape way, as the Nankow Pass 
by the Great Wall of China. At every little up- 
grade my pony balked until the sais got down and 
led him by out-stretched bridle to the top of the 
hill. When I demurred at myself dismounting to 
walk up the next trifling hill, the gentle sais whined : 
"Gentlemen go Khyber Pass always walk up hills." 
The sowar lounged in splendid ease on the back seat 
of his tum-tum, dawdling his Enfield on his knee, 
and watching us from on high as we toiled up each 
gentle gradient after him. 

"How about that sowar? If gentlemen always 
walk up hills in Khyber Pass, why does n't he get 
down and walk?" 

' ' Oh ! Sowar no gentleman, ' ' said the naive one. 
But at the next hill a disgusted Khyberi, no gentle- 
man that he was, dismounted and walked too. 

At last Ali Majid's battlemented towers, crown- 
ing a pyramidal hill at the middle of the pass, came 
in range, most picturesque of many great fortresses 
of India, completing the wild landscape which, in 
turn, it conunands. There the pass is narrowest, 
only fifteen yards from wall to wall, and a steep 
zigzag path leads up to the deep gateway of the 
old Afghan stronghold. From that aery there is a 
bird's-eye view down the narrow defile. The history 
of this Gibraltar is an unbroken record of attack, 
siege, defense, and slaughter— last captured, recap- 
tured, and burned in 1897. Beyond Ali Masjid 
we might not go, and we could only look up the 
narrow rock corridor, soon closed to view by a jut- 



THROUGH KHYBER PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 293 

ting point, and imagine the Buddhist stupas and 
inscriptions we might not see— Samarkand four 
hundred and fifty miles away in air line, seven hun- 
dred and fifty by caravan road. 

By noon, a far tinkling told that the camels were 
coming, and the caravans bound down from the for- 
tified serai at Lundi Khana, where they had rested 
the night, reached Ali Masjid's gorge. The shaggy, 
swaying animals, with their shaggy keepers, made 
fitting pictures in that wild glen. Traces of vivid 
Bokhara waistcoats illuminated a few dingy figures, 
but for real, theatrical effect the troupe needed 
fresh costuming. Some of the caravan-men stood 
stock-still, rooted, transfixed, and stared at us ; others 
feigned indifference; and others vented Pushtu 
curses. 

Then tum-tums passed us, speeding on from Pesha- 
war toward Kabul, and a two-horse trap, very 
nearly a buckboard, that was filled with prosperous 
Kabul merchants, ranks above common povindahs, 
all shapeless fur bundles topped with preposterous 
turbans. Gaily domed ekkas, like idols' cars, and 
filled with squatting figures, sped by; other ekkas, 
with curtains discreetly screening the traveling 
females, and drawn by ponies wearing blue bead 
necklaces, went on toward Kabul ; and then came the 
tum-tum of a mission worker from Peshawar, who 
had essayed the task of reaching the Pathan heart, 
of subduing the wild Afridi villagers with Christian 
teaching. Some heroic-looking old men on spirited 
Kabul horses pranced by; a mounted Khyberi A\dth 
pennoned lance made a picture as he cantered up ; 

16 



294 WINTER INDIA 

and all the while the shaggy men afoot and the 
strings of camels went noiselessly on, their rocking, 
wavering, swaying motion, the slow, deliberate, me- 
thodical lifting and placing of the soft feet, exer- 
cising a sort of hypnotic charm. 

"Why do these Kabul-ly men have such white 
faces and blue eyes like Englishmen?" we asked 
our servant, who quailed when any of them glared 
curiously at him. 

"Oh, it is very cold at Kabul, and they eat so 
much white grapes and fruit. That makes them 
white men. Kabul-ly grapes are very dear, and 
poor Hindu cannot buy." 

Then, nearly all the long way back to Jamrud, we 
were meeting and overtaking strings of camels — 
camels to right of us and camels to left of us, 
camels ahead and camels behind, that thrust their 
unpleasant heads, with their foaming lips and yel- 
low teeth, altogether too near. Once when the sowar 
fended away a too-friendly camel with his rifle- 
barrel, there came such screams, groans, and shrieks 
from the insulted beast that we felt that all the 
vaunted dangers of the pass were understated, and 
that the camels were as dangerous as the Khyberis. 
The diamond hitch is not known in Afghanistan 
evidently, for the loads were balanced rather than 
girded on, and cinching seems never to have been 
applied to the camel's waist-line. The drivers were 
continually rearranging loads that had tilted over 
or worked loose, and bending their triple-jointed 
legs, gaunt beasts with elongated necks sat down 
and protested to the echoing canon walls while 



THROUGH KHYBER PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 295 

their burdens were clumsily fastened again. Kodak 
film was reeled away regardless of the distance 
from the cantonment photographer's dark-room, 
and still the caravans came on, bringing silk, carpets, 
wool, furs, fruits, and sweetmeats from Kabul ; while 
up from Peshawar came blocks of rock-salt, chests 
of Indian tea, and all of Birmingham's wares, to- 
gether with an unending movement of British piece- 
goods, into the heart of the great continent. 

As we came out to wide reaches between the de- 
creasing hills, the road was all our own again, save 
for the lounging sentries here and there among the 
rocks. Soon we emerged on the plain, the hills 
closed behind us, and there was spread the view that 
has gladdened the heart and thrilled the pulses of 
every marauding conqueror from the north ; but for 
us the land of romance and mystery lay behind us, 
among, beyond the frontiers. The real spice, the 
greatest element of danger, was gone, too, when the 
sowar swung himself down from the tum-tum and 
strolled off to his barracks with a scornful smile of 
good-by— a smile that grimly seemed to promise a 
less conventional meeting. 

Once beyond Jamrud walls, our Hindu bearer 
recovered heart and spirits, and chattered and ges- 
ticulated almost joyfully with the sais all the dusty 
ride back to Peshawar, as one who had faced certain 
death and escaped it. 

There was the same scramble by the wild mob 
on the Khairabad platform when we again sighted the 
great Attock fort and bridge across the Indus. 
There was uproar among as many mad Pathans as 



296 WINTER INDIA 

ever, and it seemed as though there must always be 
more Afghans than room for them on the railway. 
The Bengali station-master, who greeted us as old 
acquaintances when we returned safely to his the- 
atrical platform and its wild war drama, stood by 
our window and talked, and heeded this riot and the 
mingled roars in Pushtu no more than the ripples 
of the Indus on the stones below. Six-foot ruffians, 
with rage and hate distorting their countenances, 
ramped the platform and flung themselves in heaps 
before each third-class door, each man with enough 
extra cloth flapping, bagging, flying loose and trail- 
ing after him to clothe two other men in European 
patterns. Each bawled and beat the air like a mad- 
man, screaming rage and defiance at the earlier oc- 
cupants of compartments where not another foot 
nor elbow could be insinuated by the most deter- 
mined of these hairy giants. And still the Bengali 
talked gently on, airily admitting that the Afghans 
were a very bad lot. "But Abdurrahman can man- 
age them as no one else can. They all fear him. 
When he dies we will have the war," 

''Tell me about the Khyber Pass. How did you 
get permission to go there? What did you go for?" 
bluntly asked a German cavalry officer when we 
had returned to table d'hote circles at Lahore. He 
cross-examined me as to every civil, social, military, 
and geographic fact that might have come under 
my observation. "You wanted to see the live Pa- 
thans because Herr Kipling has written? and to 
see where Alexander came through ? ' ' 

We charged the uhlan with wishing to see where 



THROUGH KHYBER PASS WITH THE CARAVANS 297 

the next world contest will be fought, where the 
Russians are coming through, 

* ' Umh-umh ! Yes ! I may want to see where we 
might want to come through ourselves." 

"You! The Germans in India?" 

"Certainly. Why not?" 

"But will you come as the ally of the Sultan or 
the Czar?" 

"Ally?" he repeated, in apparent amazement. 



CHAPTER XXI 



AMPJTSAR 




IHERE was a combination hotel and 
dak bangla under one roof at Am- 
ritsar that was as amusing as anything 
in comic opera. We arrived at the 
dak bangla late at night, and moved 
to the hotel in the morning, by merely crossing the 
hall. Instead of being served in our own cold, white 
vault of a bedchamber in the bangla, we dined in 
the lofty, drafty banquet-hall of the hotel quite 
as comfortably as if in the train-shed of a railway 
station on a winter night. All the doors of the 
place were besieged by insistent touts who sang the 
same song, ''Please come my shop. Please buy my 
shop," thrust greasy cards at us, clung to the car- 
riage-steps, and outdid their tribesmen elsewhere. 

Amritsar, as the holy city of the Sikhs, has an im- 
portance and a character distinct from all other 
places. It is as large a city as Delhi, and for ages 
has been a great trade-center, lying on the main 
caravan routes from Central Asia and Kashmir. 
The streets show a mixture of races, and for color 
and picturesqueness the bazaars equal those of La- 
hore. Nearly every man wore a chudda of either 

298 



AMRITSAR 299 

vivid red, green, or orange, and if we had remained 
another day I should have succumbed to the pre- 
vailing mode, assumed a bright-red shawl, and with 
it the theatrical pose and stride, the flap and fling 
of loose ends of drapery. The Sikhs, "the Swiss of 
Asia," were old friends, whom I had known before 
I knew the Pan jab— the splendid statuesque, red- 
turbaned policemen of Shanghai and Hong Kong, 
"the red-top men" of such terror to Chinese male- 
factors. Originally Hindus, their Luther protested 
against caste and idolatry and denounced the cor- 
ruption of the Brahmans; and, just before Colum- 
bus's voyage to America, he established his dissent- 
ing sect near Lahore, Akbar showed tolerance and 
granted them the sacred pool at Amritsar, but his 
successors persecuted them, tortured their leaders, 
and so aroused their national and military spirit 
that after many battles they established their in- 
dependence in the middle of the eighteenth century. 
Their last great leader was Runjeet Singh, after 
whose death in 1839 they embroiled themselves with 
the English, were defeated at Gujerat in 1849, 
and the Koh-i-nur went with the Panjab to the 
victors, and now the pensioned descendants of their 
ruler live as country gentlemen and champion 
cricket-players in England, marrying with the 
English nobility. The Sikhs' loyalty during the 
Mutiny gave them a prestige still preserved, and 
these stalwart and interesting people are claimed 
by the Magyars as long-lost Aryan kinfolk, many 
common words and the common fashion of beards 
first suggesting the relationship. While the old 



300 WINTER INDIA 

men of the Sikhs bewail that their people are back- 
sliding and drifting into Hinduism, a stranger sees 
that they are as anti-Hindu as anti-Mohammedan; 
that they pray to the east, refuse tobacco, in- 
dulge in spirits, eat pork, and button their coats 
to the right — if only because their opponents do 
otherwise. While they venerate the cow, they loathe 
the saffron color of the Hindu fakir and love the 
blue the Hindu hates. The Sikh never shaves or 
trims his hair or beard, parting the latter and twist- 
ing and tucking it behind his ears and under the tur- 
ban. He always wears a sword, if only the minia- 
ture tulwar in his turban, and he terrorizes the 
timid babu, the limp Bengali, and the cowardly 
Kashmiri as he does the Chinese, and in general is 
the first man one meets in India. 

The heart of the Sikh city and the soul of its peo- 
ple is the Golden Temple in the center of the sacred 
tank, the Pool of Immortality, and for beauty and 
impressiveness this Amritsar shrine is second only 
to the Taj Mahal. Marble terraces and balustrades 
surround the tank, and a marble causeway leads 
across the water to a graceful marble temple whose 
gilded walls, roof, dome, and cupolas, with vivid 
touches of red curtains, are reflected in the still pool. 
One gets the first view from a high terrace by the 
modern Gothic clock-tower, where the Sikh guards 
halt one until he has removed his shoes. A bearded 
giant exchanged our shoes for huge felt slippers 
that were damp and even wet, and led us around the 
white terrace. The palaces and gardens of Sikh 
nobles surround the tank, and the path is bordered 



AMRITSAR 303 

with venders of fruit, flowers, and turban orna- 
ments. Processions of brilliantly clad people passed 
under the towered gate of the causeway and out over 
the path on the water; and, doubled in reflections, 
it all seemed too picturesque, too theatrical to be 
real. Only the north door of the temple is open to 
Europeans, but the bearded priests sitting in a gold 
and painted hall before a magnificently bound 
Granth, or sacred scriptures, over which the atten- 
dants waved brushes, received us kindly. Pigeons 
flew in and out the arched openings with their mas- 
sive silver doors; the musicians pounded and blew; 
the priests sat chanting before the jeweled Granth, 
which is the object of adoration to the sect, and after 
we had made our offerings, threw jasmine wreaths 
over our shoulders and gave us fragrant oranges. 
The Sikh visitors worshipfully knelt, offering 
money, cowries, and flowers before the book, and, 
garlanded in return, were conducted with us to the 
upper chamber of the temple to see even richer wall 
decorations of mirrors and gilded fretwork. The 
place is so precious that it is swept and dusted only 
with peacock feathers. The silver doors of the tem- 
ple stand open day and night, and the chanted ser- 
vices are continual, and on moonlight nights in sum- 
mer this fairy floating temple must seem a dream. 
Only the chill of those wet felt slippers on that cold 
winter morning could have hurried us away from 
the enchanting place; but, sneezing and shivering 
violently, we fled, and although we spent two more 
days in Amritsar, we were content to view the tem- 
ple from the terrace. 



304 WINTER INDIA 

Gardens, forts, towers, other temples and palaces 
dwindled in interest by comparison with the bazaars 
and street crowds of Amritsar, and hours went by 
rapidly as we followed the narrow streets of this 
truly Persian and Central Asian city. In the cara- 
vansary by the city walls we saw such delightfully 
tattered and patched and lusty beggars from Yar- 
kand and Bokhara as no fancy could picture. They 
are last in the train of pilgrims that come down 
from the north each winter, taking train at Amritsar 
and excursion steamer at Bombay for the pilgrimage 
to Mecca. These plump, red-cheeked, Tatar-faced beg- 
gars beat time on a triangle and sang an appealing 
verse or two, accompanying it with dramatic and 
graceful gestures; and they wished us long life, 
health, and wealth in return for our infidel annas. 
Other Yarkand men came out from the arches of 
the quadrangle, some blue-eyed and with faces ab- 
surdly Teutonic, their originally white skins tinged 
with sunburn and dirt until, like the Sikhs, they 
were a dark leather or ginger color. Some were 
horse-dealers, others had brought wool, silk, jade, 
turquoises, and agate for sale. All wore long, fur- 
bordered, wool or wadded coats, with real sleeves 
and seams in them, instead of the loose ends of cot- 
ton and pashmina cloth of the people of the Indian 
plains. One man in an old Russian military coat 
and top-boots looked the veritable stage secret- 
service man, and then we remembered that in 
this caravansary Kim slept and listened. But how 
we reveled in the streets and bazaars beyond ! 
The quarter of the shoemakers, where gaudy Mo- 



AMRITSAR 305 

hammedan slippers dandled in gorgeous strings 
and bunches, and leather-workers bent over rain- 
bow tasks ! The wool-shops, where Bokhara cam- 
els' wool and Kashmir and Rampur pashmina cloths 
overflowed from open sacks and bales! And yarn- 
shops, hung over with skeins of every color! Dye- 
shops, where turban lengths hung dripping with 
every brilliant fluid! Copper and brass and dam- 
ascened metal shops, and shops for the sale of 
coarse carpets and dhurries, of skin bottles and 
earthen bowls,— all were fascinating. The shops, how- 
ever, were the dens of shawl-shops, where pale, fine- 
featured Kashmiris sat embroidering shawl borders 
with silks and gold thread. The little Kashmiri 
boys, with their great eyes and long lashes, were 
charming creatures, fine products of an old race and 
an old civilization, purest Aryans of all these people ; 
but the bearded Sikhs despise the Kashmiri only a 
little less than they despise the Bengali. The gen- 
tle, esthetic Kashmiri is not a fighting man, and 
there are thousands of pure and mixed Kashmir 
weavers and embroiderers long resident in Amritsar 
who still quail before the giant Sikhs. 

We found the jewelers' row, where women who 
were themselves walking jewel-shops sat bargaining ; 
and we found the gem-cutters' dens, where jade 
blocks from Yarkand and farther Turkestan were 
sawed, cut, and polished. Jewel-boxes, knife-han- 
dles, knife-blades, ear-rings, bracelets, slabs, and me- 
dallions for Delhi jewelers to inlay with precious 
stones, were all being evolved from the rough lumps 
of green stone by means of the primitive bow-string 



306 WINTER INDIA 

drill and emery-wheel driven by the foot. There 
was a sociable jade merchant of silky, persuasive 
manners, who lost much time trying to convince 
me that gray was green and that any soft stone, if 
it were even grayish-green, was jade, and that brown 
streaks and white clouds were desirable variations 
in the monotonous monochrome surface. After this 
prelude, he produced better pieces of this most fas- 
cinating and oldest lucky stone in the world. Bul- 
lock-carts crowded us to the wall and camel-trains 
brushed contemptuously through the narrow bazaars. 
One camel, loaded with baskets, scraped a destroy- 
ing path through the tortuous lane, tearing down 
flimsy awnings and curtains, sweeping signs and 
trade samples along and tramping them under his 
spongy feet, while the shrieks of the despoiled trades- 
men filled the air. 

All the way touts dogged our steps. "Please come 
my shop. Please buy my shop," rang in my ear 
whenever I stopped to look or to point the camera. 
They followed us, pleading, if we walked ; they leaped 
off and on the carriage-step if we drove ; and ' ' Jao ! ' ' 
had no significance to them save when emphasized 
by the bearer's stick. One persistent nagger drove 
us almost to frenzy with his lamentations and up- 
Hraidings whenever we stopped at a shop-front. We 
bade him " Jao !" and to stay "jao," but he was om- 
nipresent, and to get rid of him we went to his shop. 
He had nothing but weather-worn rubbish; and 
while he ran to borrow stock from a neighbor we 
made our escape. 

At the large carpet-factory ninety-seven looms 



AMRITSAR 309 

were strung with cotton warp, and little Kashmiri 
boys, sitting elbow to elbow before them, tied in the 
wool threads, cut them with miniature scythes, and 
pressed down the stitches with wooden combs. A 
spectacled old Kashmiri, seated behind each curtain 
of warp-threads, read off the directions for the pat- 
tern from pages of Kashmir cipher, all understand- 
ing and following this ancient, conventional cipher 
by inherited association more easily than any of the 
clear, mechanical directions devised and used by the 
managers of jail carpet-works. Four small boys, 
with one old man to read the pattern to them, will 
make a fine, close, velvet-pile carpet, measuring 
eleven by thirteen feet, in two months and a half, — a 
carpet worth twenty-five dollars gold at Amritsar. 
The design is chosen, the materials allotted, and the 
contract let to the reader, who pays each boy three 
or four rupees a month. Conventional old Turk- 
ish and Persian designs are followed. They are first 
drawn in colors, traced on sealed paper, graded to 
the number of warp-threads, and the pattern writ- 
ten in Kashmir cipher. The small boys work me- 
chanically, tying on two, four, or twenty stitches, 
as the reader calls to them, paying little heed to 
what is growing under their fingers, whether scroll, 
leaf, or stripe. "Two pink, three green, one red," 
chant the boys in monotones after the reader. The 
reader watches the pattern grow, and, detecting a 
false stitch, raps the offender with the stick he 
holds for the purpose. The carpets are valued both 
for the fineness of the stitches and the quality of 
the wool, the ordinary "fine old Persian, or Tabriz, 



310 WINTER INDIA 

rug" of Western auction-rooms costing eleven and 
twelve rupees a square yard in Amritsar; while a 
copy of a precious old wine-red Bokhara rug they 
were then weaving of fine pashmina or shawl wool 
was worth fifty rupees a square yard. 

Each loom was a genre picture and a color study, 
with the spectacled Kashmiri in sober turban and 
jacket on one side, and on the other the row of long- 
lashed boys in brilliant garments, elbowing and 
shoving one another and tittering together, quite as 
all children behave in the presence of school visitors. 
No finished carpets could be seen or bought, since 
the looms were working overtime, a year behind their 
orders. New York buyers order largely each year, 
and large consignments go to London and Paris. 
There were shawls for sale, bales and bales of them, 
and stitched in silk threads at the end of each 
chudda was the number of warp -threads, by which 
their fineness and value are determined. They are 
kept in press between boards, and when one bought 
the silky fabric it was sewed in Kashmir wax-cloth 
and sealed in a clumsy tin box. 

So very enchanting did we find these bazaars that 
we lingered another day and yet another, to feast 
on their picturesque setting and incidents each 
warm, Indian-summery afternoon. Then we has- 
tened to the guard-house terrace overlooking the 
tank and the Golden Temple, and watched that build- 
ing of beauty, whose reflection seemed to float upon 
the splendid sunset sky. 

We hurried back to the bazaars again, to see the 
narrow, irregular lanes illuminated with every kind 



AMRITSAK 311 

of poor, crude, clumsy lamp and lantern, tallow 
dip, rush-light, saucer of oil, and floating wick, 
fagot, and torch. Shadows hid the dirt and in- 
congruities; each unique thing had its right value; 
and we haggled over blue-embroidered Yarkand 
felt rugs, over striped Ludhiana lungis or gold-shot 
cotton turban-cloths, over jade and blue ferozees 
and the shadowy Bokhara silks, far into the frosty 
darkness up to the late dinner-hour. 



CHAPTER XXir 



SIMLA 




IMRITSAR'S railway platform— the 
same where Kim was put off the train 
for want of a ticket to Ambala, and by 
his wits was soon on board again— was 
most picturesque the noonday we 
started for Simla. A man in a blue coat with yel- 
low cuffs and a red shawl thrown over his shoulder 
was only first figure in the crowd of red, blue, 
orange, and green-shawled creatures, in turbans of 
red, pink, orange, lemon, and salmon, in blue and 
gray Ludhiana lungis with gold-striped ends. An 
ash-smeared fakir crouched gibbering by the wall 
near the tank labeled, "Water for Mohammedans," 
and a high-caste Brahman protected water sacred to 
his co-religionists' use. A woman whose jewelry 
was but half concealed by a thin sari held an um- 
brella down over her face as she squatted on the 
concrete, and her owner threw a sheet over the um- 
brella and fiercely guarded the beehive tent. From 
this retreat, the woman peered forth, clashed and 
jangled her jewels to attract our attention, and made 
eager signs for us to come near that she might inspect 
us. 

312 



SIMLA 313 

All afternoon we rode straight toward a long, blue 
horizon-line that grew, until at sunset, at Ambala, 
we had the great wall of the Himalayas plainly be- 
fore us. We changed trains, and jolted over the 
thirty-five miles to Kalka in complete darkness. At 
nine o'clock we stumbled through a dark, deserted 
village to the so-called hotel, which was a little bet- 
ter than a stable only in that it had not yet been 
used for horses. We spread our bedding in chill, 
whitewashed, stone-floored rooms opening upon a 
stone porch; and once more in darkness followed a 
lantern through the streets to the post-office. There 
we agreed to pay the government of India, or the 
postmaster-general, seventy-five rupees for a "tonga 
phaeton," i. e., a two-pony victoria, with sixteen re- 
lays of ponies, for the fifty-seven-mile drive up to 
Simla and return. 

Wholly by our own energies we got the establish- 
ment astir the next morning at half -past six o'clock. 
The worst coffee in India was brought, with the 
usual smoky toast and repulsive butter-plate— this 
at perhaps the only hotel in India ever patronized 
by the official class, and which the smart, the luxury- 
loving and disdainful, must endure twice a year if 
they go to Simla. Western civilization in India, 
taking the hotel as its index, is at lowest ebb at 
Kalka. 

Our tonga, or "fitton" in native colloquial, ar- 
rived at our door before sunrise, drawn by two bul- 
locks. We mounted and were slowly dragged to the 
post-office, from which exact point the government 
had agreed to transport us. The two ponies were 

17 



314 WINTER INDIA 

then affixed,— "as per contract," said the babu,— 
made fast by traces running to a tonga, or steel bar 
fastened yoke-wise to both girths. Away they went 
by leaps and bounds, and at a gallop, up hill, around 
corners, and along a country road through the foot- 
hills. Every three or four miles, the driver winded 
his horn, the ponies redoubled their efforts to run 
away, and we bounded into a tonga station, where 
the relay ponies stood waiting in harness. The steel 
bar was loosened and pinned to the girths of the 
new ponies, the traces and reins made fast, and we 
shot forth at the fixed gait of eight miles an hour. 

It was a clear, cloudless day, with hoar-frost over 
the grass of the bare hillsides and on the rice-fields 
that in curving terraces filled every valley and ra- 
vine, rippling away in lines that seemed designed 
for ornament only. There were plantations of trees, 
but no forests — none of the jungles that one expects 
at the foot of such a mountain-range. In the dis- 
tance clumps of intensely green Pimis longi folia 
waved their nine- and ten-inch-long needles as softly 
as bamboos. We mounted long inclines, whence we 
had a magnificent view of the hills and plains be- 
low, or looked up and across to the loops of the road 
above us. Sometimes we could watch the next relay 
station as we drove toward it, and with the glasses 
note the preparations for our arrival. Bullock-trains 
under guard of sepoys, low mail-tongas bringing 
convalescents down from the sanatoriums, and a 
few camel-trains passed by. The bearded Sikhs, the 
turbaned Pathans, and the handsome Kashmiris of 
Lahore and Amritsar streets had vanished, and in 



SIMLA 317 

their places appeared a nondescript people in sober 
attire, — sturdy hill-men whose clothes and cheek- 
bones had the same Chinese suggestion as those 
of the hill-folk around Darjiling, At ten- thirty we 
shook off our razais and rugs and limped into the dak 
bangla at Solon, with fierce mountain appetites 
added to what naturally succeeded the imitation of 
a breakfast at Kalka. A courteous old khansamah, 
with a velvet manner and perfect decorum, ush- 
ered us to a dining-room where the chill of Hima- 
layan summits lingered, and we soon had the table 
brought out to the sunny veranda. Twenty-seven 
miles of travel, and a lift of a few thousand feet 
in air, had raised the art of cookery far above its 
level at Kalka, and we breakfasted with enthusiasm. 
While two plunging animals refused either to be 
led or backed up to the ''fitton," the babu informed 
us that this was the best post-road in India; that 
it had the best carriages and best ponies; that the 
government pays one and two hundred rupees for 
the best Peshawar and Agra horses, and sells them 
cheap at the end of six or eight months, since only 
the best stock will do for or can stand the Simla 
travel. Across the valley we could see twenty horses 
sunning themselves before the next station, ready 
for the day's relays, and our early start gave us the 
choice of the successive stables. From Solon the 
road led steadily up over bare brown hills, marked 
by the path of landslides or the green of afforestation 
efforts, set with candlestick cacti and striped with 
an occasional patch of snow. All the boulders were 
painted over with and the pine groves stuck full of 



318 WINTER INDIA 

advertisements of a certain "Green Seal Whisky," 
the Himalayas as gaudy as a London omnibus or 
railway station. At last a turn revealed to us the 
snowy range, far away up against the sky, and then 
Simla's straggling crescent of houses was seen across 
a great chasm or valley. In seven hours and a half 
—just the time taken for the trifling trains to climb 
to Darjiling — we reached the Simla tonga station, 
seven thousand and eighty-five feet above the sea. 

It was the place of the ' ' Phantom Rickshaw, ' ' but 
what a material vehicle appeared to us ! No wonder 
it is spelled with an unnecessary "c" and a bar- 
barous "w," or with any alphabetical lumber that 
can be dragged in by Anglo-Indians. Nothing could 
be more ludicrous in a farce or burlesque in a Jap- 
anese theater than such a vehicle. Four thousand 
miles by road and centuries of intelligent devel- 
opment lie between the Tokio jinrikisha and the 
Simla "jinny rickshaw" — the one an airy seat 
on flying wheels; the other a solid, clumsy cart, a 
rattling, rumbling affair of cast-iron and thick 
planks, drawn by four shuffling coolies, who walk 
leaning against the long tongue or the back board 
of the undersized juggernaut. 

A late tiffin awaited us in the ramshackle wooden 
hotel, which, patched, shabby, and unsightly, was 
in the hands of workmen getting ready for the open- 
ing of the season in March, The landlord was volu- 
ble and kind, for tourists never come to the hill- 
tops in winter, and he gave us the best of the shabby 
old rooms— dark, sunless holes, with cheap furniture 
and fittings so long past their day that they might 



SIMLA 319 

well be put in a mnseum of last-century crudities. 
Yet here fashion and arrogance abide from March 
to November, and the gayest social life goes on, 
despite the frightful thunder- and hail-storms — rains 
that are nearly water-spouts and cloud-bursts, and 
that continue for three months. 

It was like turning the pages of ''Plain Tales from 
the Hills" even to read the street signs as we lum- 
bered about that crescent ridge of the summer capi- 
tal. Jakko, the Mall, the Ladies' Mile, Elysium Hill, 
and all the rest were there, and we traveled the same 
road that Mr. Isaacs and the fair English girl rode 
together. There were the shops of jewelers, — in one 
of which Kim and the other boy counted the loose 
stones in trays, — shops of silk, silver, and curio mer- 
chants, of milliners and pastry-cooks, all boarded 
fast for the winter, and behind them the ramshackle 
buildings of the native bazaar dropped along the 
hillsides in crazy terraces. There were English 
villas and cottages, and nothing Oriental or truly 
Indian in the aspect of the place, and we had a 
stranger's feeling. Our slow-moving coolies were 
barefooted and barelegged, and when they stepped 
aside from the beaten track of slush to let bullock- 
trains pass, they often stood more than ankle deep 
in snow. As the setting sun played a fire-pageant 
over the line of snow-peaks, the chill mountain 
air penetrated our wraps and rugs, but the red- 
cheeked English girls in cotton shirt-waists strolled 
slowly home with their tennis rackets, as if it were 
a day in June. How we wished we might go with 
them; that they would ask us to follow on and 



320 WINTER INDIA 

have a cup of tea and meet Mrs. Hauksbee, the Gads- 
bys, and all the rest we knew so well ! We wanted, 
too, to hear more about those long-past seasons when 
occult science and the new religion were setting 
Simla wild; when Mme. Blavatsky, the suspected 
Russian spy, was working her miracles, and great 
mahatmas and yogis were arriving from nowhere, 
with nothing in their hands, and letters dropped 
from the ceiling as commonly as from the post- 
man 's bag. A. P. Sinnett, the editor of the Pioneer, 
was leader in the occult movement, and by his 
"Esoteric Buddhism" and "Karma" theosophy 
spread to the Occident. We had glimpses of those 
days in "Mr. Isaacs," and Mr. Crawford's Ram 
Lai is to be taken seriously. The whole clumsy fraud 
had been exposed when Kipling came, and in "The 
Sending of Dana Da" we have an irreverent 
account of a specimen case. When all the clap- 
trap and collusion, the mechanical devices and 
unblushing frauds had been exposed, laughter shook 
the Himalayan hills, and the rich natives, who had 
financed the apostles as furthering a crusade against 
Christianity and mission work, were left in tears. 
The London Society for Psychical Research sent 
their keenest investigator, and there was no mys- 
tery left— Isis was completely unveiled, and theoso- 
phy has since been a dead issue in Simla ; and all its 
miracles were proved to be in line with Dana Da's 
sending of the kittens. 

In February we walked the terraced promenade 
by the reservoir alone, and had the sunset view of 
the snowy range quite to ourselves. Three small 



SIMLA 321 

Anglo-Indians lingered by the cathedral door. We 
asked them the name of the large, white peak that 
rose above the long, snowy ridge. "I don't know 
the name. The snows— just the snows— is what we 
always call them," said one Wee Willie. 

Even the landlord made a wry face when we said 
we had come to see Simla as a tribute to Kipling; 
that we should not have been satisfied to leave India 
without visiting this scene of so many of his stories. 
We assured the landlord— manager, rather— that 
we could not have appreciated nor understood In- 
dia but for Kipling, nor Kipling but for India; 
that we now realized our debt to Kipling and the 
measure of his genius. The manager did not make 
vigorous protest, like all the other Anglo-Indians, 
for the wise man quarrels not with his bread and 
butter, and women who make pleasure-trips to Simla 
in February are not to be held accountable beyond 
the regular per diem rates in rupees. 

The nights at Simla were something to benumb 
an arctic explorer, and it was a relief to rise in dark- 
ness and leave the tonga station long before the 
sunrise glow was seen beyond Jakko's heights. As 
we galloped away and down, the shadow of the 
Plimalayas retreated from the tawny, hazy plain— 
a plain, as level and vast as the ocean, lying be- 
neath the frost-haze. We had another sunny break- 
fast at Solon, and, timing our halts, we found two 
minutes by the watch sufficient to change ponies at 
any station. At ten minutes past two o'clock, seven 
hours after leaving Simla, we were at Kalka post- 
ofiice, and a train soon carried us on to Ambala, 



322 WINTER INDIA 

where a four-hour wait was enlivened by the de- 
parture of a wedding-party from the cantonment. 
Ladies in laces and pale pink goAvns brightened the 
dark train-shed and platforms as they threw slip- 
pers and rice. Silk-hatted men in frock-coats and 
pearl trousers covered the rails with torpedoes that 
gave joyful salute as the wheels rolled over them. 
A gorgeously turbaned person in a gold brocade 
dressing-gown and silver-toed, green leather slippers, 
and who ought to have been one of the hill rajas 
we forever read about, caught the eye completely. 
Sad to say, he was only the coachman of a polo-play- 
ing hill raja who had sent the bride and groom to 
the train in his state landau. 



CHAPTER XXIII 



ALWAR 




|HE snporior tourist in India nsnally 
makes a point of his acquaintance with 
rulers of native states, generally harps 
on the fact unduly, and raises bitter- 
ness in the heart of the plain tourist 
and common sight-seer, who cannot refer casually 
to the rajas, diwans, residents, and political agents 
he knows. "I was the guest of the raja at So-and- 
So," **I was put up at the maharaja's bangla in 
Here-and-There, " say such enviable beings. One 
listens with envy and deep humility if he does 
not know that a card from one's consul, even a 
courteously worded note from the tourist himself, 
will secure one the privilege of stopping at the gov- 
ernment rest-house or raja's bangla in a native state 
— at a fixed price for his lodging and carriage. One 
makes the usual grand tour and sees the great sights 
of India without leaving British territory, although 
one third of the area and one fifth the population 
of India are under native rule. Hyderabad in the 
Deccan, where the Nizam rules twelve millions of 
people occupying a territory as large as Italy, Udai- 
pur (spelled in seventy-two different ways), Jodh- 

323 



324 WINTER INDIA 

pur, Baroda, Indore, Alwar, Gwalior, and Kashmir 
are the native states the tourist finds most worth see- 
ing. "I am only visiting native states on this trip," 
said one superior traveler. "I do not care for the 
beaten track." When we met him on the grand 
thoroughfare weeks later and asked as to his enjoy- 
ment of innermost India, he denounced native rulers 

in sweeping terms. ' ' I arrived in the day the 

raja died in Calcutta, so there was nothing doing 
there, unless I waited a week to see a funeral. I 

presented my letter to the diwan at and he 

said: 'I am very sorry, but His Highness has been 
so intoxicated for the past fortnight that he has not 
seen any one. He is drinking a bottle of brandy and 
one of chartreuse a day, in addition to much cham- 
pagne and Scotch and soda. I really cannot say 
when His Highness will be fit to receive visitors 

again.' At it rained cats and dogs, the 

bangla leaked, the bedding was wet, and the food 
bad, and I came away without presenting my letter. 
All India is off the beaten track," 

We stopped at Alwar, in Rajputana, on our way 
back to Agra to keep our engagement with the Feb- 
ruary moon in the garden of the Taj. We reached Al- 
war station, as we had reached so many other places, 
between one and two o'clock in the morning. There 
was no carriage, no khansamah, nor any one from 
the maharaja's bangla to meet us— only sodden 
darkness and the platform of the small railway sta- 
tion. A tiny ekka was found, and in some way we, 
with the luggage and bearer, managed to get in 
the absurd little cab, and a mite of a pony managed 



ALWAR 327 

to pull us to the bangla. A sleepy khansamah made 
us comfortable for the rest of the night. 

A relay of messengers, and finally a victoria with 
men in blue palace livery, came from the diwan, or 
prime minister of the tiny empire, at nine in the 
morning. We were driven to his house, and went 
through many anterooms to a cool, dark inner draw- 
ing-room, where a portly personage in a mixed Ori- 
ental and European costume of white flannel re- 
ceived us with great cordiality. His little daughter, 
in a woolen hood and many calico coats, but with only 
jingling anklets to keep her little bare brown feet 
and legs warm, was brought in and duly admired, 
and then he presented one Soorajbux, the learned 
librarian of the high school, who was detailed 
as our cicerone for the day. He took us first to the 
modern palace, a suburban villa full of European 
furniture and notions, where the young raja spent 
his occasional vacations from the Mayo College at 
Ajmir. Among the incongruities in the raja's study 
was a framed chromolithograph of Wood's single- 
apron binder at work in an American wheat-field. 
There were inclined planes as well as staircases that 
the ruler might ride to his bedchamber if he wished, 
and a beautiful durbar hall with carved window- 
lattices. From the upper windows we looked down 
upon a sunken garden, once a sacred tank, where 
fern- and orchid-houses overflowed with beautiful 
plants; and by avenues of bo- and banian-trees we 
reached the garden of the lions, tigers, and bears, 
home also of wonderful red, blue, and yellow parrots 
who uttered long Rajput sentences. 



328 WINTER INDIA 

We drove rapidly back to the city and through 
the bazaars, where women in gaily embroidered phul- 
karis set with looking-glasses seemed to have walked 
away in those long-favored decorations of British 
drawing-rooms. We saw the stables, the five hundred 
horses, the forty elephants tramping and swinging 
their trunks in idleness "for the honor and glory of 
the raja," and then made another dash through city 
streets, with the populace saluting the palace equi- 
page. In one court of the palace, an elephant in 
state trappings and a body-guard of soldiers waited 
before the temple where the raja's mother was pray- 
ing. In the next court, the bearded keeper of the 
library waited for us in highly impatient mood. 
He had been waiting for hours, by the diwan's 
command, and, with much communing in his beard, 
he produced the books which are Alwar's pride— 
a beautifully illuminated Koran, a gorgeous Gu- 
listan whose medallions, letters, and borders would 
excite a Western bibliophile, many Persian books 
illuminated by the best old Delhi painters,— and 
showed us one room full of sacred Vedas. 

We were taken on to farther courts and through 
many marble halls to the banquet-hall, where the 
long dining-table was of solid silver. The water 
ran gurgling in silver channels down its length, and 
jeweled birds in gold and silver cages warbled over 
this precious garden-bed. There was a beautiful 
white-marble durbar hall with carved balconies and 
lattices, and a glittering Shish Mahal adjoining it, 
all a dazzle of mirrors and colored glass. It further 
overlooked a great tank or lake surrounded by mar- 



ALWAR 329 

ble terraces, balustrades, and pavilions, with a rug- 
ged mountain fortress crowning the perpendicular 
rock mass beyond the tank. It was a fairyland sight 
by day, and when illuminated for viceregal fetes 
must transcend all Indian fantasies. A picturesque 
old turban claimed us and led the way to the armory, 
where room after room was filled with weapons with 
murderous and agonizing edges and points; their 
handles jeweled, carved, inlaid, and damascened ; the 
blades wonderfully tempered, mottled and grained, 
often chased and inlaid with verses. One sword- 
blade had a shallow runnel near the hilt, in which a 
dozen loose pearls ran up and down in the gummy 
ooze of oil left by the zealous cleaners. Sword-hilts 
set with pearls, rubies, and diamonds; jade hilts 
jeweled all over; and hilts of Jeypore enamel were 
the delight of the gleeful, proud old armorer, who 
had a dramatic way of drawing a blade, giving it 
a flourish in air, and presenting it suddenly level 
with one's eyes for close inspection. We had finally 
to tear ourselves away from the array of more and 
more terrible weapons his minions brought from 
some inexhaustible storehouse— spears, daggers, ele- 
phant-goads, battle-axes, and chopping-knives of 
terrible ingenuity. The jewels of Alwar, the emer- 
ald cup, and the precious cabochon fringes would 
take pages to themselves, rivaling as they do the 
collections of temples. 

We were hurried out to the white court overlooked 
by the zenana windows to see the return of the maha- 
rani,— such a spectacular scene that it was a pity 
the central figure in it was so curtained and veiled 



330 WINTER INDIA 

as not to be able to see it herself. Lancers on horse- 
back, state elephants and color-bearers, first ap- 
peared in the white archway and, with the troops, 
ranged themselves around the dazzling court. Sil- 
ver palanquins with red silk curtains held the royal 
ladies, and three hundred women attendants muffled 
in red, yellow, and white draperies chanted as they 
walked beside them. It was such a brilliant pageant 
that we could hardly believe it the ordinary week- 
day proceeding. To prove how much more splendid 
Alwar rulers could be on gala occasions, they showed 
us a two-story red and gold elephant carriage in 
which fifty people ride in state processions, and store- 
houses full of jeweled elephant trappings. 

Then we saw the chetahs, or hunting leopards, 
huge spotted yellow cats, blindfolded and wearing 
funny little leather caps, and tied head, tail, and 
legs to a cage or skeleton stall. They stood inert 
as wooden cats, and would neither growl, snap, 
nor even wink when the keepers tried to rouse them, 
two men lifting a chetah and setting it down as 
they might lift and move a four-legged table. In 
the jail yard and workshops the law breakers were 
contentedly weaving carpets, dhurries, and cloth, 
making paper, grinding corn, and otherwise mak- 
ing themselves useful. The leader, a red-handed 
murderer, chanted the carpet pattern, and his fel- 
low-criminals bawled loudly in response, tying "one 
green, three white, two blue" automatically. There 
are already hereditary criminals in these modern, 
comfortable jails, and the jail caste is fast becom- 
ing a definite order. 








.t I 




ALWAR 333 

Soorajbux took us to his high-school building, 
showed us his illuminated Persian books, and asked 
many naive questions about the outer world. ''The 
Japanese— are they at all like the Hindus? Of what 
religious caste are they? Are they civilized like 
us?" And we left Soorajbux exclaiming: "What! 
they are the most refined and artistic people in the 
world ! Their art a revelation to and the despair 
of all Europe ! They are more esthetic than the Eng- 
lish ! How very wonderful ! Do the English 
know it?" 

In the afternoon the courteous old diwan returned 
our visit, his yellow turban and suite sending the 
bangla staff into such agitation that we barely 
made the station and train in time as a fierce thun- 
der-storm came on. We dined and waited a few 
hours at Bandikui Junction, and then took train for 
Agra, arriving at half-past three in the morning; 
for, no matter from which direction the traveler 
comes, it seems impossible ever to reach Agra at a 
rational hour. We stopped this time at the hotel 
where the German professor had enjoyed the grilled 
mutton-chops, and a notice on the wall of my room 
requested: "Visitors will please not beat the ser- 
vants, but report them to the manager, who will 
punish them, ' ' 

We revisited the Taj on a gray, cloudy morning, 
the moist air heavy with the fragrance of flowers. 
We sat again on the balcony of the Jasmine Tower 
at the fort and watched a murky sunlight play upon 
the distant white bubbles of the Taj, and then took 
an afternoon train for Cwalior. The whole time- 



334 WINTER INDIA 

table of the Indian Midland Railway was put out of 
joint and our train made an hour late by the lamp 
dropping through the roof of our compartment. 
Guards and station-masters at three stopping-places 
chattered and gave frenzied orders, and while a 
small lamp was in some way tied into the large 
socket, nothing could bring a man of sufficiently 
ignoble caste to wipe the oil and broken glass from 
the floor. 



CHAPTER XXIV 



GWAIJOR 




|FTER any experience with the ordinary 
dak bangla and the up-country hotels, 
the Mussaffirkhana, the maharaja's 
rest-house at Gwalior, is a dream of 
luxury. Used only to dirty carpets and 
dhurries, or ancient reed mattings laid on cement 
or mud floors, we rubbed our eyes at sight of the 
shining white stairway, at the clean, soft-piled carpets 
of the beautiful white villa, and more at the great- 
windowed bedrooms that were actually furnished. 
There were real bureaus and real beds — complete 
beds with springs, mattresses, pillows, sheets, blan- 
kets, and spreads ! AVe sat down in amaze, and the 
sense of wonder was exhausted when we found every 
lock, hinge, knob, and fastening of the doors and 
windows in working order and the whole place spot- 
lessly clean. Such sights had not been seen since 
Colombo. Below-stairs the pretty drawing-room and 
dining-room were as w^ell kept and modern. The 
Mussaffirkhana was the greatest surprise in India, 
the enlightened maharaja a special providence to 
hardship-worn tourists fortunate enough to be per- 
mitted to inhabit that abode of bliss, a literal rest- 
is 335 



336 WINTER INDIA 

house and a temple of cleanliness and order. Natur- 
ally we dreamed of American hotels and other high 
products of our civilization, and happily waked to 
find the Mussaffirkhana not a dream but luxurious 
reality. After the chota hazri, as daintily perfect as 
the little breakfast of a Paris hotel, we drove about 
the well-kept town in a palace carriage, a perfectly 
appointed victoria. The streets were lined with white 
houses, whose tracery windows and ornamental bal- 
conies were worthy an art museum. The street 
crowds were most brilliant, and more yellow was worn 
in Gwalior than elsewhere, along with the endless 
variety of Mahratta turbans, which surpass in num- 
ber and originality those of any other people. The 
very imposing coachman snapped his whip and the 
blooded horses sped away like the wind, straight 
down the middle of each street, the sais yelping 
shrill warnings, the crowds parting automatically 
and saluting the palace livery. We saw the beauti- 
ful unfinished temple to Sindhia 's mother, for which 
the stone-cutters were chipping out as fine traceries 
and latticings as any in Delhi or Agra, and then re- 
turned for the serious British breakfast, at a table 
fragrant with roses and mignonette. It was radiant, 
mild, ideal spring weather, and after all our suf- 
ferings from cold we basked with delight in the open 
air, faring forth again to the foot of the rock-fortress 
which rises like Gibraltar from the plain. A splen- 
did elephant in red-velvet trappings stood waving 
its trunk as we drove up, and at the word of com- 
mand sank upon its hind legs in a deep courtesy, 
stretched out its great body, slowly bent its fore 



GWALIOR 339 

legs and sank to the ground, and we climbed up a 
ladder to the dos-a-dos car or saddle on its back. 
With earthquake heaves, a rock this way and a lurch 
that way, it stood erect and lumbered up the steep, 
flagged path, through six defensive gateways, to the 
blue-tiled walls of the "painted palace" at the edge 
of the rock. We penetrated its deserted courts all 
carved with flat traceries and arabesques and set 
with enameled tilings and stone latticings, and from 
the flat roof had an unlimited view over the level 
yellow plain more than three hundred feet below. 

Again our stately transport knelt, we climbed to 
the red- velvet jaunting-car on its back, and it paced 
across the flat, table-topped mesa to the half-ruined 
Jain temples, where conquering Moguls wreaked 
their fanatic zeal, chipping and mutilating the 
myriad tiny figures in the bas-reliefs with which 
walls and columns were covered, and further effacing 
them with coats of chunam and whitewash. The 
wealth of intricate ornament lavished on these 
temples would be incomprehensible were there not 
the perfect Jain temples at Mount Abu to show what 
the shrines of Gwalior rock once were in less degree. 
While we lingered at that angle of the rock's para- 
pet to look down upon the city below us, the yellow- 
turbaned mahout made his elephant do tricks like 
any poodle. It picked up and threw stones, waved 
its spotted ears and trunk as commanded, and nosed 
up the tiniest coins from grass or gravel and gave 
them to the mahout. It lumbered after us over the 
grass as tamely as a kitten, its great soft feet shuf- 
fling with a strange barefoot tread as it followed us 



340 WINTER INDIA 

to a pyramidal temple ruin very similar to the Bud- 
dhist ruins in Java. The same indefatigable Major 
Keith who rescued and preserved the old carved and 
tiled palace worked over this temple, too, restoring 
the gateway and replacing as far as possible every 
carved fragment. We remounted, and the mahout 
guided the monster down the road and then close 
beside the parapet, goaded it until it was as close 
to the coping as possible, and then bade us look 
down and see the rock-sculptures that adorn the 
perpendicular face of a ravine of the rock. With 
three hundred feet of space below our feet, the 
breathing of the elephant seeming enough to burst 
the girths that bound the car to it, and its lurches 
as it shifted its weight from one foot to the other 
enough to propel us into the air, we cared nothing 
for bas-reliefs and images. A tank far below, and 
the winding white Lashkar road, seemed to sway in 
air and rise toward us, and we clutched the car- 
frame in agony and begged only to be taken down 
to the safe level of the plain again, to horses and 
wheeled vehicles. We could easily believe that much 
elephant-riding makes one mad, and that the motion 
and the heat of the elephant's body affect the spine 
and shorten the life of a mahout. After the jerk- 
ing and jolting of its downhill progress we gladly 
left the gentle giantess in the red-velvet cloak sa- 
laaming and putting its trunk to its forehead in 
thanks, in ridiculous parody of the slim little mahout 
beside it. 

We were allowed to peep into the court of the 
Jama Mas j id without unshoeing, and went then to 



GWALIOR 341 

see the splendid and impressive tomb of Mohammed 
Ghaus, a Moslem saint of Akbar's time, who rests in 
an immense domed hall shut in by sandstone lattices 
of exquisite and intricate design. Next came the tomb 
of Tansen, a musician, sheltered by a tamarind-tree 
whose leaves, if chewed prayerfully, will secure one a 
sweet voice. The dancing-girls come to worship at 
this tomb, and tree after tree has been stripped of 
leaves and killed, so that seedling descendants are 
kept at hand to replace them. 

'* Memsahib," said the bearer, excitedly, ** there 
will be fight this day with lion, unicorn, and elephant. 
Will memsahib see?" Learning that the unicorn 
was a rhinoceros, we were ready to see the fray 
which is the national pastime, as in Akbar's day. 
A British major from Rawal Pindi cantonment, 
showing India by winter to a visiting niece and 
nephew, and staying at the Mussaffirkhana, implored 
us so earnestly not to go that we deferred to his ad- 
vice — and have regretted it ever since, wondering 
how much of local color and national character we 
missed in not seeing Sindhia's subjects at their fa- 
vorite sport, to which bull-fighting must be child's 
play. 

The bazaars were brilliant enough when crowded 
with white-clad Mahratta men in their fantastic tur- 
bans, and Mahratta women in full, bunchy skirts of 
every hue, swinging and tilting past, clashing and 
jangling their anklets; but when a part of the raja's 
body-guard, preceding the maharani on her way to 
worship, paraded down a street of white houses, 
the stage pageant was complete. Horsemen in gay 



342 WINTEE INDIA 

uniform and gorgeous turbans, with fluttering pen- 
nons; horses in bright saddle-cloths, yellow bridles 
and trimmings; a state elephant in red velvet and 
gold trappings, with cloth-of-gold curtains to its 
gilded howdah; and a troop of women surrounding 
the gilded palanquin, made up a very spectacular 
church parade. It was all so splendidly theatrical, 
so really Oriental, as at Alwar, that we said: ''This 
is the last touch, the perfect climax. Let us go 
quickly, before the curtain falls, the people put on 
their every-day clothes, and we are disillusioned. Let 
Gwalior remain in memory with all the bloom of the 
first overpowering impression. ' ' We would not wait 
two days on the chance of meeting Sindhia himself 
when he should return from a hunting-trip, and 
we took train for Agra— arriving at midnight, of 
course. 

We had a quiet Sunday to revisit tombs in ap- 
propriate observance of the day, and to sit again on 
the Jasmine Tower and watch the sunset play over 
the Taj Mahal. There was an unmistakable Sabbath 
atmosphere to the view, although the dhobiemen 
were swinging, pounding, and spreading out acres 
of cloths to dry on the flats below the fort, and twit- 
tering parrakeets flashed in and out of the creviced 
wall, and fluttered over the dry moat where Akbar's 
elephants and unicorns fought for his entertainment. 
A sudden impulse seized us as the pageant began, 
and we hurried to the gharry, implored the sais to 
make all speed, and running through the garden of 
the Taj, settled ourselves once more in the upper 
story of the western minaret overhanging the river. 



GWALIOR 343 

The great white temple was richly yellow in the last 
beams of the sun, with blue shadows in every recess. 
Softly rolling white clouds across the Jumna took 
on rose-lights and were reflected in the river. The 
Taj flushed rose-pink, and before the golden burst 
of the afterglow had faded the February moon rose 
full, round, blood-red in the east. The vision was 
complete. Fifteen times had we entered the garden 
of the Taj, and each time the spell of the Taj was 
stronger. 

The next day dragged through with odds and ends 
of sight-seeing until sunset. We dutifully did the 
jail, the most populous in India, where often a thou- 
sand prisoners are kept, and carpet-weaving is the 
chief of many industries. Great efforts have been 
made, by following the best old designs and using 
only vegetable dyes, to attain a high standard and 
keep the Agra carpets first in the foreign market. 
Thirteen rupees a square yard is the average price, 
and over five thousand yards are woven a year, the 
jail earning 90,000 rupees a year by its industries. 
Agra criminals long furnished the best jail carpets 
in India, but good conduct reduced the time of some 
and Jubilee benevolence released others of the best 
long-sentence weavers, and the Agra carpets declined 
for a time. That afternoon we stayed by the Jas- 
mine Tower and watched the white bubbles on the 
horizon flush rose-red for a brief moment against 
a misty gray sky. Then white mists rolled up from 
the river, and rain-clouds gathered and hid the Taj 
IMahal forever from our view. 



CHAPTER XXV 



JEYPORE 




|T Agra we were midway in the penin- 
sula — eight hundred and forty-one 
miles from Calcutta, and eight hun- 
dred anc" forty-eight miles from Bom- 
bay. It was very cold, and rain was 
falling in sheets when we started, late at night, to 
ride the one hundred and forty-nine miles to Jeypore, 
and during the night it grew colder. Clouds of 
dust came through the loose, rattling carriage-win- 
dows, and when we shook off our razais at daylight, 
near Jeypore, there was a small dust-storm in our 
compartment. 

The pompous, fat proprietor of the Hotel Kaiser- 
i-Hind was strutting the platform in a solferino 
plush coat, waving a telegram and shouting for 
"Eliza! Eliza!" — meaning the person who had sent 
the message. His rival, the proprietor of the dak 
bangla, fawned at our elbow, beseeching us to come 
to his house instead, and there was wordy war be- 
tween the two across me, charge and counter-charge. 
"I will furnish elephant for Amber, no charge!" 
shouted one. ' ' Oh, memsahib ! memsahib ! ' ' hissed 
the other, 'Hhat elephant no good elephant, not got 

344 



JEYPORE 345 

teeth." "Mine is first-class family hotel," roared 
the solferino villain. "Oh, his is dirty, rotten hotel," 
wailed the other. "Please come my house, please 
come my house, I am poor man," bawled the bangla- 
keeper, as the big solferino banged the carriage-door 
on his trophies and climbed the box to guard us from 
being kidnapped on the way. 

The dining-room of the Kaiser-i-Hind was in the 
cellar-like ground floor, and an outside staircase led 
to the cement terrace or roof on which the bedrooms 
opened— lofty rooms, with many doors and long win- 
dows to admit air in the hot weather when the hotel 
is empty, and fireplaces the size of a crumb-tray to 
warm them on the frosty nights when the place is 
filled with shivering, sneezing tourists. Two dozen 
times the solferino one asked me if I wanted a guide 
for Jeypore, and as many times he received the de- 
cisive "No." Two babus were breakfasting in the 
general room, quite like Europeans, and speedily 
opened conversation. No discouragements could 
check their volubility, and we watched to see what 
game was premeditated. "I am not common man," 
said the larger turban. " I am prince. I am Nawab 
of Behar. Go! fetch me those letters from the 
duke, ' ' he said to his companion, who returned with 
a greasy note, worn like a beggar's certificate. The 
secretary of the Duke of Connaught had A\Titten to 
"His Highness Mer Abdul-asal Alum Khan, Nawab 
of Behar," to express condolences on the death of 
the Nawab 's wife. Then this doubtful Nawab, eat- 
ing in the public room of an inn with casteless un- 
believers, told us that his family owned the Espla- 



346 WINTER INDIA 

nade Hotel in Bombay, and that he spent much time 
there. He offered to telegraph to his brother-ruler 
of Indore, or to any native state we might wish to 
visit. He would even take us around Jeypore and 
show us the sights, since he had nothing else to do 
that day. He would take us to the shops— and then 
all suspicions crystallized without this democratic 
raja adding: "I will take you to the best shops. I 
am not common man after commission. ' ' This latest 
form of tout, the princely one of the table d 'hote, was 
such an amusing climax to our touting experiences 
that we could hardly keep serious countenances be- 
fore the clumsy confidence-man and his accomplice. 
His tongue ran on and on, in sheer joy in its run- 
ning. "I want not commissions on what you buy. 
I want not money in this world — only friends, and 
weeping when I am dead." We could not tell how 
much conspiracy there was between this pair and the 
solferino landlord, who had been so persistent about 
our taking a guide ; but the solferino one handed the 
Nawab into a carriage with a great flourish just as 
our "fitton" drew up. "You are going to the mu- 
seum?" asked the Nawab. ''So are we"; and he 
was whirled away without escort or outriders. He 
stood on the museum steps dumbly staring when our 
carriage went past him toward the city gates, and 
when we did return to the museum, two hours later, 
the Nawab was waiting and showed the strain of 
that long suspense. The pair followed us from case 
to case for a while, profuse in praises of what we 
looked at longest, voluble until we put direct ques- 
tions to them about the methods and processes of 



JEYPORE 347 

manufacture of some of the old art objects. "I can 
find you shop to make you copy of anything you 
see here," repeated the bogus Nawab several times 
plaintively. To end the farce, which had then been 
played long enough, we confided loudly to each other 
in prearranged dialogue that we had not an anna left 
for shopping in Jeypore — only our railway tickets 
and rupees enough to get to Bombay. The Nawab 
melted away without adieu and was seen no more. 

This art museum, housed in a beautiful palace in 
a park, is filled with the choicest examples of old 
pottery, brass, enamel, gold- and silver-work, carv- 
ing, weaving, embroidery, jewelry, and everything 
else on which Indian fancy and genius lavished dec- 
oration in the past. At the art school in the city 
replicas of many of the museum objects were for 
sale, and others could be commanded. The class of 
young brass-beaters sat in the cellar-like entrance 
of the school, beating out Saracenic traceries as bor- 
ders of large brass trays sunk in beds of pitch ; and 
a dyer and his wife next door walked up and down, 
stretching between them to dry the rainbow-striped 
cotton head-sheets which are a specialty of Jeypore. 
Everywhere in this "rose-red city, half as old as 
time," the street groups were so theatrically pictur- 
esque that we forgot everything in watching them. 
The city is new, architecturally, and its two long, 
straight streets, crossing at right angles by the palace 
walls, cause all picturesqueness to converge there. 
The crowds were so brilliant and fantastic that one 
remembers Jeypore as some pageant in grand opera, 
the bazaars more spectacular than even those of La- 



348 WINTER INDIA 

hore. At noon, we saw the broad main street crowded 
from curb to curb with men in white clothes, with 
gay turbans and shawls,— a crowd that swayed and 
surged and moved until the long expanse of turbans 
was like a tulip-bed in the wind. It was the climax 
of all Indian street scenes, and such a kaleidoscopic 
play of color as could only be seen there on the day 
telegraphic bulletins are received from the govern- 
ment opium auctions, which fix the price of the drug 
for the month. 

At the great Four Corners there is a monumental 
fountain, and there elephants continually pace by, 
camel-trains pass and repass, and pigeons descend 
in clouds if one tosses a few grains in air. Sheeted 
women, with jingling anklets and full-swinging 
skirts, come to the corner of the jewelers' bazaar 
to buy their glass, brass, lacquer, and more precious 
bangles and nose-rings. There were wedding pro- 
cessions passing the fountain all that sunny day, 
which had- been declared the lucky one of the month. 
Many corteges were preceded by elephants in rich 
velvet and bullion trappings, their faces, trunks, and 
ears elaborately painted. Jeweled bridegrooms went 
by in velvet-lined palkis hung from silver yokes, and 
from time to time the processions halted, a canvas 
was spread on the ground for the company to sit 
on, and nautch-girls— middle-aged colored women 
in bunchy accordion skirts and full panoply of 
jewels — gave a deliberate song-and-dance interlude. 
These mature sirens literally "trod" their slow- 
footed measures in clumsy, dusty leather shoes that 
a hod-carrier might wear. Each family circle wel- 



JEYPORE 351 

corned us to the company of wedding guests, and we 
assisted at several such interludes. There was the 
palace to see— a modern, tawdry, semi-European af- 
fair of much plaster-work, mirrors, and gilding. 
The carpets were rolled up in the throne-room of 
the beautiful Audience Hall, the furniture covered 
with brown holland, and the state treasurer, cross- 
legged between two accountants, occupied it for the 
day while he paid off the palace servants. We were 
led down the long marble paths of the formal gar- 
den to see— a billiard-room. But we saw, on the way, 
the myriad-bay-windowed walls of the zenana, which 
greatly resembled the street fronts of San Francisco 
hotels. We saw the palace stables and two aged ele- 
phants eating grass; and later in the day went to 
"the lion and tiger museum" to see two real, live 
unicorns. "See," said our bearer, "with how very 
loose skins these unicorns are," as he led us to the 
rhinoceroses' cage. 

There were the regular, cut-and-dried tourists' 
shops filled with crudely made weapons, rough 
brasses and potteries, for which gullible folk pay 
twice the London price ; and one such proprietor met 
us at the door with his visitors' book and insisted 
that we should read the praises of himself, his wares, 
and the Indian tiffin he serves good patrons, written 
but the day before by some young travelers from 
New York. He dilated upon the virtues of Amer- 
icans, and showed us the boxes and boxes of trumpery 
stuff bought by those tourists ; and it was great com- 
fort to us, the worthy poor, that we were not as the 
millionaires are— to be taken in by Brummagem 



352 WINTER INDIA 

goods and cast-iron sword-blades at double the 
Broadway prices. 

At another shop of archaic weapons that had but 
yesterday come from the foundry, we bought an 
elephant-goad for peace and sociability's sake, and 
sat for an hour to watch the panorama of the main 
street. The bearded proprietor bubbled away at his 
hooka and pointed out the Jeypore celebrities as 
they went by — the prime minister, the chief magis- 
trate, the political resident, — even the treasurer go- 
ing in state, with an artillery escort, to pay visits. 
A group of Brahmans bringing sacred Ganges water 
from Benares had military escort, too, and a military 
band; and there was an air of religious state to all 
the great ekkas drawn by noble white bullocks, the 
kincob curtains but half concealing the rainbow- 
wrapped women within. Noble graybeards pranced 
by on Arab horses, and five wedding processions, 
with jeweled nautch-girls in gold-gauze dresses, 
passed before us, the wise old elephants looking very 
bored with all this fuss and f olderol over the marriage 
of small boys. A customer came and bought some 
big brasses ; a minion ran off and found a dilapidated 
box for a few annas, and they patched and mended 
it on the spot. Then the proprietor swept a glance 
over the crowded thoroughfare and let forth wails 
like a muezzin on a minaret. A woman, bent under 
a great bundle of forage, stepped aside, dropped her 
small haystack on the shelf -like floor of the shop, 
and the packer's material was bought from her, a 
simple, direct, and primitive proceeding that de- 
lighted me. 



JEYPORE 353 

Such scorching sunshine and piercing winds were 
never experienced together as in Jeypore. One 
needed an umbrella as protection from the sun and 
fur wraps as protection from the wind at the same 
time. We tiffined in the icy dining-room and took 
coffee on the scorching terrace, where merchants of 
arms gathered daily to display their ancient weapons 
—cast-iron stuff made to order in England to furnish 
the "cozy corners" of Christendom, to hang on the 
walls, and to prop up the divan draperies of so- 
called Oriental rooms. 

It was on one of the most brilliantly sunny and 
piercingly cold days that we drove across the city 
and out to the flat country beyond, where abandoned 
gardens, crumbling tombs, lone minarets, and domes 
lined the road, and alligators basked by neglected 
tanks where green scum floated. As we drove into 
a courtyard, a weary old elephant with a painted 
face sadly in need of retouching saluted us with 
foot and trunk. It knelt, and we climbed to a 
rickety charpoy, or string-bed frame, covered with 
doubtful razais. After the noble beast at Gwalior, 
with its splendid trappings and comfortable jaunt- 
ing-car, this ill-pacing, moth-eaten, tourist elephant 
of the Raja of Jeypore was a disappointment; and 
after it had lurched and lumbered along a few miles 
that we might have done more comfortably in the 
carriage, our disgust was unbounded. We were dis- 
enchanted before the creature began the steep ascent 
to the deserted palace of Amber, delighted that 
the elephant is fast being relegated to the back- 
ground, a creature for shows and ceremonials only, 



354 WINTER INDIA 

the railway and the automobile displacing it as a 
means of travel, and American overhead machinery 
crowding it out of timber-yards; and the Delhi 
durbar of 1903 very probably the last great parade 
of state elephants. 

All the way out from the city the road had been 
streaming with people in brilliant clothes and the 
kaleidoscopic street crowds of Jeypore continued 
far into the country. Troops of Rajputs in green, 
white, and yellow clothes, on foot, in bullock-carts, 
sitting by the roadside, and going in and out of tem- 
ples, enlivened the way, and, as we mounted the side 
of the mesa, we could see this brilliant ribbon of road 
stretching away through the level of the abandoned 
city of Amber. The lurching elephant gave us 
momently finer and wider views out over the plain 
of ruins, and finally lumbered into a court of the 
fortress palace and knelt for us thankfully to dis- 
mount. In the little temple to Kali, at the palace 
entrance, the floor was still red with the blood of 
the goat just sacrificed, and we had heathendom 
fresh and hot there at the maharaja's door. Guide- 
books and sentimental tourists have said so much in 
praise of Amber that we had keyed our expectations 
too high. Also, one must land at Bombay and see 
Amber before seeing Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Delhi, 
and the rest to value it so highly. The tinsel look- 
ing-glasses and plaster rooms at Amber were weari- 
some. We had seen too many before. The pavilions, 
the baths, and the gardens seemed small and con- 
tracted, and even the pomegranate-trees grew in pots. 
Best of all in the palace was the high balcony, where 



JEYPORE 355 

we enjoyed a picnic tiffin and a view out over the 
lake and the plain of ruins and tombs. The elephant 
took us slowly down hill with the greatest possible 
discomfort, the mahout goading it until drops of 
blood stood on its neck, and we rejoiced that there 
was no more elephant-riding in prospect that season. 
We were delighted to get back to the fantastic, 
pink-plaster streets of Jeypore and join in its the- 
atrical pageantry, throw wheat to the pigeons in air, 
join arrested wedding processions, and watch the 
sedate old dancers in brogans tramp their slow 
measures and sing their nasal song-s. The street 
juggler looped the torpid python around his body 
and held the head before him to be photographed, 
as if the coiling creature were only a garden-hose 
with fangs in the nozle. The streets fairly blazed 
with color in the last red and yellow rays of sunset ; 
brilliant turbans and head-sheets were moving lan- 
guidly in every direction around the four-corners' 
fountain; pigeons whirled in clouds and trotted be- 
side us by hundreds; flocks of noisy crows flew to 
settle for the night in trees just outside the city wall ; 
and when we reluctantly drove away the frost-haze 
was silvered by moonlight, and Jeypore remains a 
brilliant picture — too spectacular and color-satisfy- 
ing to be real, too good to be true, a certain feeling 
possessing one that the scenery was rolled up that 
night and the troupe went home or on to the next 
town. In the cold hotel we slowly congealed, enthu- 
siasm declined, and we joyfully quoted Lord Cur- 
zon's opinion: "The rose-red city over which Sir 
Edwin Arnold has poured the copious cataract of a 

19 



356 WINTER INDIA 

truly Telegraphese vocabulary, struck me when I 
was in India as a pretentious plaster fraud." In 
memory one reverts to Sir Edwin Arnold's view, 
sees only the fantastic pink palace fronts, the bril- 
liant turbans, the wedding processions, and the jew- 
eled women switching their red and yellow skirts in 
the sunshine ; and of all places in India, I should like 
best to be put down for an hour in the streets of 
Jeypore, when the midwinter sun is shining, the 
opium-market is lively, and the astrologers have 
declared it a propitious day for weddings. 




CHAPTER XXVI 

MOUNT ABU AND AIIMEDABAD 

^E were jolted from midnight until the 
next noon, to cover the two hundred 
and seventy-four miles of railway be- 
tween Jeypore and Abu Roads, our 
bearer standing in his crowded car for 
all but three hours of that time. At Abu Roads 
we met again the long-tongued Anglo-Indian "jinny 
rickshaw." There were six coolies to each cart; 
two leaned against the cross-beam of the ridicu- 
lously long tongue as they slowly walked; two 
more leaned against the back of the vehicle; and 
the two reliefs rested as they lounged along the flat 
country road ; all six dragging their clumsy slioes in 
the dust and enveloping us in a cloud for the six 
miles of level carriage-road. Running was not in 
their thoughts as, with frequent rests, they slowly 
crossed the plain and, at a snail's pace, crawled up 
the easy grades of the mountain road. Even ox- 
teams overtook us. We passed only the wretched 
hovels of the people, mere pig-sties of bamboo and 
mud beneath bamboo-trees, each with its banana- 
patch, and our shouting coolies made all who came 
to the doors to stare, kneel and salute us. We rested 

357 



358 WINTER INDIA 

once by a tragic black pool shaded by two enormous 
banian-trees, where Scotch whisky and soda was in- 
sistently offered us by a black keeper of a refresh- 
ment booth. The temple domes on the mountain-top 
showed in sky-line ; the golden plain shimmered far 
below US; and in six and a half hours we accom- 
plished the sixteen miles. We dragged along beside 
a lake in the late sunset as bullock-carts filled with 
rosy English children came from a picnic. There 
were rice-fields on the mountain top, flooded by 
primitive Persian water-wheels, wonderfully green 
and thriving crops, and groups of palms in every 
vista. Violets bloomed by the dak bangla's door- 
steps, where a fine old Idiansamah greeted us and 
gave us tea with Goanese guava jelly on crisp toast 
in a warm room. 

Mount Abu is the headquarters of the resident 
who rules the seventeen Rajput principalities, and 
from him we secured a permit to visit the Jain tem- 
ples. The Jains are the last of the Buddhists left 
in India and their creed is still closely akin to that 
Gautama devised for his people, although their ob- 
servance of caste is contrary to the fundamental 
principle of Buddhism. A Rajput officer in Euro- 
pean coat, draped dhotee, and a sword as his badge 
of race and rank, with a red-coated chuprassy 
from the Residency, escorted us the next morning 
the two miles to the Dilwarra shrines. The guard 
at the temple gate hurriedly wound himself into 
his kamarband, set his turban straight, and, shoul- 
dering his carbine, paced the flags energetically 
while we waited for the permits to be examined. 



MOUNT ABU AND AHMEDABAD 361 

Another red coat and yellow turban came, and the 
three guided us around the two Jain temples, which 
are the most elaborately carved and decorated 
shrines in India. They were built in the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries, and the marble was brought 
from quarries twelve miles away and carved to f rost- 
and lace-like fineness. 

Marble cloisters whose alcove chapels contain 
seated images of the tirthankars, or Jain saints, sur- 
round an inner court holding the elaborately con- 
structed and decorated central shrine and altar. 
One marvels as much at the perfect preservation 
as at the minute, lavish ornamentation; and for 
the preservation the Rajputs have to thank the Eng- 
lish. In the central domical halls of both temples 
the columns, arches, struts, trusses, beams, central 
panels, and altar-fronts are covered with myriads of 
tiny figures and bands of conventional ornament in 
full and low relief, a marble filigree-work surpass- 
ing anything to be seen elsewhere. Scenes from the 
lives of the saints frame the niches holding their 
images; v/onderful rosettes and pendentives enrich 
the ceilings; and saints by the meter band the col- 
umns and walls until one feels hypnotized by the 
myriad repetitions. Leaf forms suggest the Greek 
acanthus, while the Buddhist swastika, elephant, lo- 
tus, and Hansa goose appear, and a whole grammar 
of Indian ornament can be traced in those halls, 
where the white saints sit absorbed in eternal medi- 
tation. At the first temple fifty-five saints sit in 
as many cells around the court, and a coolie was 
dusting the images as indifferently as if they were 



362 WINTER INDIA 

but common furniture, flicking at them with a doubt- 
ful rag, and whacking them again in a way to make 
one wonder what a European could do to shock re- 
ligious sentiment and make the Jains hedge a visitor 's 
entrance with permits and guards. It is expressly 
enjoined that Europeans shall remove their hats and 
not step on the platforms of the shrines or within 
the image-cells. 

The second temple is the older one and simpler in 
some respects ; but the pillared hall of the main 
shrine is loftier, its serpentine brackets and struts 
even more lavishly ornamented, its dome and pen- 
dentives more exquisite. We went back and won- 
dered again at all the extravagance of carving in 
the first temple. Certainly these two Jain shrines 
are the climax of Indian decoration and ornamental 
construction, miracles and masterpieces of patient 
art. 

The night on the frosty mountain top aggravated 
colds dating back to the wet felt slippers at Amrit- 
sar temple, and it was a delight to get down to 
Abu Roads and the dry, hot plain again. The sta- 
tion-master let us go at once to the waiting car 
that was attached to the train in the middle of the 
night. The down mail jolted us into Ahmedabad 
before daylight, where another kind station-master 
let us remain in the shunted car until breakfast-time. 
At the end of the station platform an ornamental 
minaret rose above the trees, first harbinger of the 
day of architectural feasts. Had Ahmedabad not 
been one of the exceptionally unique and interesting 
cities of India, I could not have maintained enthu- 



MOUNT ABU AND AUMEDABAD 363 

siasm to explore its mosques while burning with the 
fever of influenza. The air was soft and warm as 
late spring in the earliest morning, and the sun had 
a desert scorch at noon at that end of February. 
By dreary lanes and ruined gates in broken walls, we 
reached the beautiful mosques whose carved sand- 
stone columns and walls recall those of Fatehpur 
Sikri. Rani Sipri's mosque, the Queen's mosque, 
the tombs of Mohammed Chisti and Muhafiz Khan 
each seemed the perfection of beauty in line and 
carved ornament, the minarets, arches, and walls cov- 
ered with such a wealth of arabesques and traceries 
as vied wdth the white wonders on Mount Abu. At 
the Queen's mosque a band of Moslems bore in a 
sheeted figure bound to a charpoy covered with a 
rich cloth and garlands of marigolds. All the 
mourners bathed at the tank, united in standing 
prayer, lifted the charpoy, and bore it off to the 
graveyard. 

We drove into a dreary, rubbish-strewn common, 
and, through a breach in an old wall, reached the 
court behind Sidi Said's desecrated mosque of the 
palace to look from the outside upon the two famous 
tracery windows, best known and most beautiful 
work of that kind in India. Nothing in marble tra- 
ceries elsewhere approaches them. We drove to 
Hathi Singh's Jain temple, whose saints in niches 
and elaborately carved ornament in white marble 
are in the style of the Mount Abu shrines, and then 
we went to see the great tanks and green wells sur- 
rounded by marble galleries, where luxury-loving 
rulers sought coolness during the great heat. 



364 WINTER INDIA 

The streets of Alunedabad are dazzling and ka- 
leidoscopic to one beginning his India at Bombay; 
but Ahmedabad, once ''the handsomest town in 
Hindustan, perhaps in all the world," is a dull 
second after Jeypore. There were new models in 
turbans to be seen, and the picturesque pigeon-cotes 
erected by humane Jains are other novelties peculiar 
to this one city; for the Jains observe the strictest 
Buddhist tenets against destroying life, provide 
refuges and hospitals for animals, strain all the 
water they use, and step aside to spare the lowliest 
insect. 

The vegetable, brass, and pottery bazaars, strung 
down the middle of a wide street, were centers of life 
and uproar; but the local guide bore us off to the 
Avorkshop of a carpet-weaver,— poor show after Am- 
ritsar, Lahore, and Agra's factories,— and to the 
gate of the chief wood-carver who executes American 
orders for interior decorations. There was holiday 
or bankruptcy on for that day, but much search- 
ing and pounding on mute doors at last produced 
a lank Moslem with a key, who opened a great room 
containing a table, a book of designs, and four carved 
chairs, tagged with price-marks five times those of 
the Lahore Art School. We searched the brass ba- 
zaars and all the brass-shops for the pierced screens 
that a winter-touring M. P. lauds as a local specialty. 
In clouds of warm dust we drove here and there, 
hunting the famous kincob-shops, walking through 
archways to alleys and ill-smelling courts and cul- 
de-sacs, where small dealers had bundles of creased 
samples of tawdry, wall-papery brocades. Others 



MOUNT ABU AND AHMEDABAD 367 

shook squares of tinsel ly stuffs from upper windows, 
and shouted, "Fifteen rupees!" for each damaged 
remnant. The smells of those byways were invita- 
tion to and promise of any pestilence, and in one 
damp, fetid corner that we retreated from abruptly 
even the glib guide seemed to smell a thing or two. 
* ' Phew ! the drains ! the drains ! What a very bad 
municipal!" and we never wondered that the native 
states show such a great decrease of population dur- 
ing the last five years of the century, while the 
bubonic plague raged. 

At the busy clothes bazaar, tinsel caps and orange 
jackets for little boys were the bargains of the day 
that crowds were competing for, and more and more 
peddlers were opening rainbow packs and preparing 
for an evening bazaar. We had done our duty by 
the sights and shows of Ahmedabad ; we had had our 
fill of local color and smells ; and we drove back to 
rest at the comfortable station. Our guide and the 
bearer were bewildered, and the latter tearful at 
our wasting two hours on foot in the bazaar, and 
losing that much time in the use of the horses taken 
at so much for all day. ' ' But, memsahib, ' ' he whim- 
pered, ''if you pay six rupees a day for a carriage, 
you must use all day. You must see all. There are 
many nice tombs yet. You must see more. You 
must not stop now. These horses just stand around, 
while you walk two hours, and now you stop for 
tea, and no more use. It is too expenseful. " 

When the Bombay mail rumbled in, we found our 
reserved compartment, spread our razais, and lay 
down, and all at once had a strange, dizzy, floating 



368 WINTER INDIA 

sensation, as if hypnotized or drugged. The train 
was moving, but without jar, jolt, or thumps. The 
carriage rolled smoothly, as if on springs, and we 
sat up and stared out and at each other to fathom 
the mystery. At last, on our seventeenth night, and 
after many days spent on Indian railway trains, we 
had met the mythical "bogie-car"! The car-spring 
was a reality. 




CHAPTER XXVII 

THE CAVES OP ELLORA AND KARLI 

iE touched the Western world at Bom- 
bay only for a day, and quickly took 
train again, spreading our razais for 
an all-night ride of one hundred and 
seventy-eight miles to Nandgaon. No 
bogie-car, no sort of spring or buffer, softened 
the thumps of the hard-cushioned couches, and the 
occupant of the upper berth, feeling a draft when 
she had climbed to her swinging shelf, unhooded 
the lamp and found that the side wall of the car 
consisted of wire netting only in its upper portion. 
Her bedding was removed to the floor, and as there 
was no way to check this generous ventilation, chill 
drafts swept the compartment as the train ran 
through damp fields and dark spaces, and the dust 
of the road-bed covered us an inch deep by morning. 
The feeble lamp flickered out soon after midnight, 
and it took vigorous shouting at two dark stations 
before we could get the station-master and his note- 
book to investigate, report, and reilluminate with a 
broken-down lamp that went out as soon as we left 
his station. As everywhere in India, there were 
steaming tea-kettles on the platforms and cups of tea 

360 



370 WINTER INDIA 

at one's window at every halt; and we thawed and 
packed in the darkness in time to dismount at Nand- 
gaon at six o'clock. More tea, with some toast and 
bananas, constituted breakfast, and we got away in 
two small tongas, each with a pair of tiny, galloping 
ponies. It was not the tonga of the Simla road, but 
the original native vehicle which has lent its name to 
everything on wheels. "The tonga is a low, two- 
wheeled, dachshund of a cart, with the build of a 
gun-carriage," is Steevens's happy description of it. 
The road led across an uninteresting, level, unfenced, 
dry plain, with detached hills showing on the hori- 
zon. We stopped every seven miles to change ponies, 
and we changed tongas, visited back and forth from 
one cart to the other, rode backward as the passen- 
ger is supposed to ride, sat on the front seat with the 
driver, and did everything to beguile the tedium and 
discomfort of that all-day ride of fifty-six miles. 
The sun grew warmer, and it was almost hot at noon, 
the country more and more uninteresting, with few 
villages, few travelers, and no incidents to distract 
us after an indifferent tiffin at a way-station. At 
three in the afternoon, we reached the foot of the 
ghat in whose perpendicular face the great cave- 
temples have been excavated. The rock-cut temples 
at Mahabalipur had been but preparation for the 
great series of caves at Ellora, where the face of a 
steep hillside has been burrowed into, great cham- 
bers hollowed out, and porticoes, galleries, staircases, 
and passages cut in the solid rock and covered with 
splendid bas-relief sculpture on the most elaborate 
scale. The line of rock-temples extends for a mile 




UOCK-CUT TEill'Li;. .\ 1' KI.LOllA. 



THE OAVES OF ELLORA AND KARLI 373 

and a quarter along the front of the clift*, Buddhists, 
Jains, and Brahmaus having in turn cut their 
shrines in the everlasting hills, accomplishing this 
stupendous work in the sixth, eighth, and later cen- 
turies. For more than two hours we rambled along 
the face of the cliifs, in and out, up and down the 
different stages and galleries of the thirty-four rock- 
cut shrines ; and, fatigued as we were, hastened with 
breathless interest from one to another of the many 
surprises. 

All that we had seen of roek-sculptures and mono- 
lith temples elsewhere paled before this great dis- 
play, and all the monuments of patient toil and in- 
finite labor in the world seemed nothing compared 
to the Kailas at Ellora. First, the great sunken 
court, measuring one hundred and fifty-four by two 
hundred and seventy-six feet, was hewn out of the 
solid trap-rock of the hillside, leaving the rock mass 
of the temple wholly detached in a cloistered court 
like a colossal boulder, save as a rock bridge once 
connected the upper story of the temple with the 
upper row of galleried chambers surrounding three 
sides of the court. One enters from the plain by 
an ornamental gateway in the cliff front, a rock 
screen closing the front of the court. Colossal ele- 
phants and lamp-posts stand on either side of the 
open mandapam, or pavilion, containing the sacred 
bull; and beyond rises the monolithic Dravidian 
temple to Shiva, ninety feet in height, hollowed into 
vestibule, chamber, and image-cells, all lavishly 
carved. Time and earthquakes have weathered and 
broken away bits of the great monument, and Mos- 



374 WINTER INDIA 

lem zealots strove to destroy the carved figures, but 
one hardly notes these defects in presence of this 
greatest wonder of the Indian world, absolutely 
unique among architectural monuments. Patches 
of ocher and shreds of flower garlands remained 
from the last festival, the only suggestion of human 
touch or occupancy. One seemed to feel the pres- 
ence of magic forces there, as if the Kailas had been 
turned to stone by some enchantment. It dazed one 
to consider that one mind could have conceived such 
a stupendous monument as this ex-voto of an 
eighth-century raja — his material expression of grat- 
itude at his restoration to health by the neighboring 
springs. 

The three-story Brahmanical temples were the next 
most amazing spectacle : gallery over gallery hewn 
in the cliff front and connected by curious arched 
passages and tunnels of later date, as in the Do 
Tal (two-story) and the Tin Tal (three-story) tem- 
ples. The Das Avatar's main hall is cut one hun- 
dred and forty-three feet into the rock, forty-six 
massive pillars connecting the roof and floor. One 
Buddhist cave with a double gallery in the screen 
front, and an upper window opening to the plain, 
has a ribbed roof, and from so closely following the 
lines of the early chaitya halls of wooden construc- 
tion, it is known as the Carpenter's Cave, There is a 
carved dagoba in the apse of its long hall, where the 
seated figure of Buddha and attendant figures in 
air are in the spirit of the best period of Buddhist 
art. There are storied viharas or monasteries near 
it, which, like this great chaitya, follow closely the 



THE CAVES OF ELLUKA AND KARLI 375 

forms of wooden construction. The Dehwarra, ad- 
joining the Carpenter's Cave, measures one hun- 
dred and ten by seventy feet, two rows of massive 
rock pillars joining- the floor and roof. In the Jain 
caves beyond, cross-legged tirthankars sit in medi- 
tation in carved cells, archaic prototypes of the fairy 
marble alcoves on Mount Abu. 

Sated with wonders, we were carried up the steep 
hill to the Nizam's dak bangla, where brass bed- 
steads with wire springs and double hair mattresses 
were as great a surprise as the architectural won- 
ders that had stunned us. With great considera- 
tion, we omitted from the khansamah's menu all 
dishes requiring long preparation, in order that we 
might dine as soon as possible and go to those mat- 
tresses the earlier. At the end of two hours of call- 
ing and waiting on the ''Very well, madam," we 
crossed the dark lawn to the cook-house door to 
make a final demand for food of some kind. White 
figures and turbans flitted about in the lighted in- 
terior, making an admirable picture within the frame 
of the door, and we stood in darkness, silently appre- 
ciating it, and wondering if it would be attainable by 
kodak in daylight. We saw the cook strain the soup 
into the tureen through the end of the dish-cloth 
he had used and flung on his arm while we watched, 
and then we cried aloud. Cook, khansamah, and 
bearer all leaped aside, soup and dish-rag dropped 
to the floor, and they retreated to far corners 
of the cook-house mumbling and wailing: "Oh, 
memsahib! Please, memsahib!" etc. I had long 
revolted at the taste and smell of the ordinary 



376 WINTER INDIA 

gray soup served everywhere, and reckless flights of 
the imagination in trying to describe the flavoring 
were borne out by that scene. A very meek and 
deprecatory khansamah served that dinner of plain 
chops and potatoes with the inevitable cauliflower, 
cringing as he offered any dish, backing away 
quickly at each sound, and keeping one eye fear- 
fully turned upon us and the door of escape as he 
moved about. 

Early the next morning we returned to the tem- 
ples, climbed the steps, and passed through the rock 
screen or gateway of the Kailas, fearing lest it 
be a dream of the night. We sought vainly for some 
vantage-point in the contracted court where a camera 
could cover the whole mass of the Kailas. From 
the galleried chambers surrounding the court we 
saw the central temple best, and by a pitch-dark 
stairway we happened into an upper chamber where 
the finest bas-reliefs at Ellora covered the walls, and 
the ornamental capitals of the columns were pierced 
and chiseled out in the free and bold designs of 
a wood-carver. Even there the hand of Alamgir 
and his fanatics had fallen, and the tiny figures and 
the ornaments were defaced. The caves are still 
places of pilgrimage, and at the great festivals of 
Shiva crowds troop through the Kailas, and the im- 
ages are smeared with ocher and hung with garlands. 
The tread of these thousands of bare feet for cen- 
turies has given that peculiar, greasy polish to the 
stone floors that no other treatment bestows. In the 
rainy season, waterfalls stream over the front of the 
cliff, the courts and halls are flooded, and the path 



THE CAVES OF ELLORA AND KAI4L1 377 

that runs along the cliff from cave to cave is a moat 
defending the temples from the plain. 

It was an ideally fresh and fragrant morning when 
we started down from the grassy plateau to the 
plain, but it grew hot as the tongas bumped along the 
tedious way. As we reached a more cultivated stretch 
of country, sago- and cocoa-palms rustled their 
dusty fronds in the rising breeze that soon brought 
with it a rain-cloud and a cold mist that pierced to 
the marrow. The rain came in blinding sheets, 
swept through the tongas, and for two hours trickled 
down on us and our rolls of bedding. We arrived 
at the station in time to be partially dried over pans 
of charcoal as we ate a hurried dinner. The train 
rumbled in toward nine o'clock, and we rode as far 
as Kalyan, where we waited from four to seven 
o'clock, when the Poona train picked us up. We had 
the first new car we had seen, a shining, highly var- 
nished contrast to the ancient, unswept, unwashed 
cars in which we had been jolted over India. Pea- 
cock-blue glass in the windows gave an unearthly 
look to the red, scorched landscapes we rode through 
in ascending the Bhor Ghat. By twenty-one tun- 
nels and many loops and zigzags we rose two thou- 
sand feet in seventeen miles, the train halting at sev- 
eral reversing stations, where the engine switched 
past to join the other end of the train. We had 
eagle views out and down to rocky caiions as bare, 
dry, and roughly sculptured by the elements as any 
in our arid regions of the Southwest, even the famil- 
iar cactus of Arizona deserts flourishing in the 
wastes of rock and sand. 

20 



378 WINTER INDIA 

From Lonauli station a very trim dog-cart car- 
ried us through a model settlement toward the open 
fields. Our guide to the caves of Karli was Dhoond 
Dhu, a cheerful little barelegged turban of thirteen, 
who spoke good English with the chirpy voice of a 
young robin, and made every point tell by the ap- 
peal of his deep, dark eyes. He fought valiantly to 
make a good bargain for us with the chair-bearers 
at work in a cactus-strewn field, when the cart had 
stopped at the end of wheel tracks in a plowed 
ground. They were decrepit chairs with makeshift 
poles tied to them — carrying-chairs only, as one de- 
crepit leg and then another fell out if one attempted 
to sit in them while they rested on the ground. The 
path led steeply along the side of a hill that became 
a precipice in places, the chairs creaking and mo- 
mently threatening collapse. We remembered our bo- 
gus Nawab at Jeyporewhen three fraudulent priests 
assumed to do the honors of the great Buddhist cave 
at Karli. Blackened columns and a lofty entrance 
recessed in the rock are an imposing preparation for 
the great chaitya hall, a chamber one hundred and 
twenty-four feet long, forty-two feet wide, and 
forty-six feet high. A row of ornamental columns 
rises on either side to the ribbed teak roof, and at 
the far end, in the nave, a massive dagoba, despoiled 
of its bas-reliefs, images, and ornaments, is claimed 
as their sacred emblem by the Shivaites who have 
so long held the place. Dating from the beginning 
of the Christian era or earlier, this cave shows the 
first and purest form of Buddhist temples, and is 
the largest and finest cave-temple of its kind in India. 



THE CAVES OF ELLORA AND KARLI 381 

Steps lead to adjoining viharas, three-story caves 
where the square cells with sculptured walls allowed 
room only for the stone shelf or string-bed of the 
anchorite. 

Workmen dawdled with pick and crowbar, clear- 
ing away rubbish at the entrance, and the dis- 
comfited priests lounged there, chatting, when we 
came back from the viharas. Black rain-clouds were 
rolling up, and we started down the rocky path, 
leaving Dhoond Dhu to stir up and drive the chair- 
coolies. Then a great cry arose as priests, workmen, 
and coolies ran howling : * ' Prissint ! Prissint ! Mem- 
sahib!" rubbing their itching palms across their 
faces and extending them beseechingly. They 
shoved one another aside, wrangled fiercely, and 
seemed ready to do violence to the small guide. It 
was not the place in which to have an argument with 
even one bad man, and the dozen big beggars could 
easily have pitched us over the precipice, or shut 
us up in farther caves, without killing, until we 
were ready to pay ransom. But one has such con- 
tempt for the Hindu that fear or the possibility 
of danger never suggested itself until we were well 
away and thought what that number of Afghans or 
Macedonians might have done. To stop the clatter 
and warn off the bogus priest who had snatched 
Dhoond Dhu roughly by the shoulder, I lifted my 
umbrella and took but one step forward, when the 
pack ran back to the cave entrance, and the chair- 
coolies threw themselves flat and crawled to their 
poles, imploring mercy. We had to lean against the 
rock wall while we laughed at the farcical denoue- 



382 WINTER INDIA 

ment, Dhoond Dhu shaking the last turban fold loose 
with his child-like spasms of glee. 

On reaching Lonauli early in the afternoon, we 
had asked the station-master to have a compartment 
reserved on the midnight train to Bombay. "Cer- 
tingly, memsahib, certingly. I will wire to Poona." 
At six o'clock we had no answer— because no wire 
had been sent. At seven the condition contin- 
ued, the station-master was still absent, and the 
assistant would not send a telegram "because there 
iss no rule for thatt." We sent a telegram and 
asked the assistant to sell us the tickets then, that 
we might sleep in the waiting-room until the train 
came at five minutes after midnight. *'No, no," 
said the babu ; ''the 12:05 iss one of to-morrow's 
trains. I cannot sell you ticket now and mix my 
accounts for two daj^s so terribly. I should lose some 
money, and I am poor man." 

It was a hot, close night, and the scorching air 
came in waves from the bare cliffs of the Bhor Ghat 
as the train curved and reversed and crept from one 
twinkling light and group of lights to another down 
the two thousand feet to the plain. With our ar- 
rival at Bombay at six in the morning, we had spent 
our twentieth night on Indian railway trains in 
three months of travel, in that first winter; and 
gladly we bade farewell to the red razais. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 



BOMBAY 




FTER two months '' up-country, " Bom- 
bay seemed a European city, a West- 
ern metropolis; and that hotel which 
strikes such dismay and disgust to the 
heart of the tourist coming from Eu- 
rope seemed to us a very palace of comfort; that 
hotel whose corridors are strewn with servants and 
their rolls of bedding, their pots, pipes, and traps, — 
servants who gabble and smoke, eat and sleep, 
dress and undress, each before his employer's door, 
as unconcernedly as in their own serais; that hotel 
of hard and hillocky beds, which all one's winter ac- 
cumulation of razais cannot soften ; that hotel whose 
partition walls stop two feet from the ceiling, where 
every room has an outer balcony and an inner 
dark bath-room whose primitive plumbing puts the 
American in fear for his life. By contrast with 
up-country hotels it was the home of comfort, and 
at last we understood how people could talk of the 
*' luxury of Indian travel." All things are com- 
parative, and one's ideas of splendor depend on what 
has gone before. Even the Madras and Calcutta 
hotels would have seemed splendid after a round 
of inns and banglas. 

-1 383 



384 WINTER INDLA. 

The soft, sea air, the warm days and mild nights 
were balm to us, after the dry scorch and frostbites 
up-country. The sight of Gothic architecture was 
a revelation after having reached the edge of satiety 
among Hindu, Jain, Mogul, Pathan, and Dravidian 
masterpieces. Street-cars, European shop-windows 
and houses were objects of interest; and to drive 
over sprinkled roads beside the soft-sounding sea, 
where bands played and fashion walked; to drink 
tea on club-house porches, — all this was too exciting. 

We were invited to a Parsi wedding on our first 
day, and drove across the native city, around the 
curve of the Back Bay, and up the slopes of Mala- 
bar Hill to the villa of the bride's family. A pro- 
cession of Parsi ladies, wrapped in saris of delicate 
silks, and preceded by a band, entered the gates be- 
fore us and joined the group of Parsi women in gold- 
bordered saris who made the drawing-room blaze 
with their jewels. The bride was quiet and sub- 
dued, the groom self-possessed to the point of flip- 
pancy when he came in from the assemblage of 
Parsi men in the garden, all attired in white cere- 
monial dress and queer black hats. Bands played, 
and the ceremony by the priest was very long and 
full of symbolism. The bride, at one point, held 
a cocoanut and clasped the hand of the groom, while 
the priest delivered a long exhortation and showered 
them with rice, fruit, and flowers. The bride was 
invested with the jeweled necklaces and other gifts 
of the groom, sprinkled with rose-water, and touched 
with attar of roses in the strangely mixed Parsi and 
Hindu ceremony that has come about during the 



BOMBAY 385 

long residence of the fire-worshiping Parsis in In- 
dia. The conventional menu of a London wedding 
breakfast, with champagne and ices, was served to the 
company of Anglo-Indian officials, foreign consuls 
and merchants, a Portuguese bishop, and some Jap- 
anese naval officers and American visitors. The 
Parsi ladies and children were served in the large 
marquees on the lawn, where ceremonial dishes were 
added to the foreign dainties. Each had a palm- 
leaf for a plate, and a vegetarian repast was par- 
taken of without knives or forks. Each visitor was 
garlanded with tuberoses and sprinkled with rose- 
water when he left, but the gilded pan, or betel-nut 
part of Hindu ceremony, was omitted. 

A few days later we attended a second Parsi wed- 
ding, where still more of the old ceremonial was 
observed. There was the same garden company of 
men in white ceremonial dress, and a drawing-room 
full of Parsi ladies covered with jewels and draped 
in silks of every delicate color. The bride seemed 
not to like the way in which her veil was pulled and 
rumpled by clumsy hands, and sweetifieats thrust 
in her mouth, and with some emphasis unwound her 
sari herself and wrapped around her the silver- 
bordered one given by the groom's mother. The 
bride and groom sat in chairs facing each other, 
and the priest wound around and bound them to- 
gether with the symbolical white cord, and then 
bound them further with the groom's kamarband. 
A veil was held between them at the next stage, and 
finally they ate rice from the same dish, the groom 
feeding the bride with his fingers. There was a 



386 WINTER INDIA 

pantomime of her washing the groom's feet with 
milk, and his purse was given the bride, that she 
might spend it on a feast for the poor. The ceremony- 
was full of meaning and deep significance to the 
beautiful, dark-eyed Parsi women and to the serious, 
priestly looking men, but it would take many pages 
to convey the full meaning of the customs brought 
from Persia so many centuries ago. 

There were stock sights to be seen in Bombay, 
and we took the red Murray book and did them ; 
but it was not exciting after the up-country sights 
and people. First, to the twin Towers of Silence, 
with the friezes of living vultures on their cornices, 
where the Parsis, who do not believe in defiling the 
earth, expose the bodies of their dead to the elements 
and the birds of the air. Nothing could be more 
gruesome and repellent than the rows of huge, mo- 
tionless birds awaiting their prey. There were chill, 
sepulchral halls where ceremonies are held by the 
mourners, and from the parapet of the high garden 
one has a fine view down over the Back Bay and the 
city, and across the harbor to the mainland shores. 

In all the many accounts I have read of these 
Towers of Silence, the narrators always looked down 
the winding road and saw a procession of white- 
clad mourners approaching with a body, and grue- 
somely told how the vultures saw it too, and flapped 
their wings. "We looked and looked in vain, the 
first travelers to miss that regulation spectacle. 
AVhen we boasted our exemption to a resident of 
Bombay, he said wearily: "But of course you will 
go home and say you saw a funeral winding up. 



BOMBAY 389 

They all do. Four travelers whom I had taken 
there have published minute and thrilling accounts 
of how the procession wound up and up, and how 
the vultures flapped their wings, although I had seen 
nothing of the kind." 

Guide-book in hand, and Sir Edwin Arnold's 
caves of Elephanta fresh in mind, we rose with the 
dawn one morning and sped away by steam-launch 
across the harbor to the cave-temples of Shiva that 
date before the twelfth century. We landed at 
a pier of detached concrete blocks, and made our 
way by leaps to land, where the old sergeant who 
guards the place described every temple, every bas- 
relief, every group and image, so minutely that we 
ought never to forget a detail of those rock-sculp- 
tures, many of them of such beauty that we echoed 
the sergeant's anger at the Portuguese for firing 
cannon into the caves to destroy the idolatrous work. 
We tiptoed here and there, kept away from the 
darker corners, looked suspiciously at every rock and 
bush and tuft of grass, remembering Sir Edwin 
Arnold's tales of the deadly cobras on Elephanta; 
but the sergeant insisted that there were no snakes, 
that he had never seen one. It only remained for 
him to tell us, as he did, that he never had fever, for 
our last illusion to vanish. If we were not to be 
bitten by cobras and filled with fever germs by 
visiting Elephanta, what more was it than a plea- 
sure excursion and boating picnic? What glory in 
daring it ? What credit for anything more than one 
morning's hire of a steam-launch? We did the mu- 
seum, the art school, the hospital for animals, the 



390 WINTER INDIA 

markets, and the serais where Mohammedan pilgrims 
stop on their way to and from Mecca. At the large 
serai we met the three tuneful Bokhara beggars we 
had seen in the serai at Amritsar. They were still 
red-cheeked and cheerful, still wrapped in their 
north-country wadded clothes on that warm morn- 
ing, and they showed proudly their Cook coupon 
ticket for the pilgrim-ship and further journey to 
Mecca. For the rest, Bombay was a European city ; 
the hotel life, the teas, the drives, all of the West 
only. It was hardly India to us, save as Delhi Jew- 
elers salaamed in recognition and sang to us be- 
seechingly: "Please buy my niklass. Please take 
that griddle." 

We had but a few days to wait for the ship to 
Ismailia,— hot days, when the thermometer stood at 
90° for hours; a haze hung over the ocean, and the 
evening drives to the Breach of Kandy and Malabar 
Hill were none too refreshing. All Bombay turned 
out of doors at sunset, to drive, to walk at the edge 
of the ocean, to linger by the band-stands long af- 
ter dark. The groups of white-clad Mohammedans 
gathered together to pray and to listen to the Koran, 
and the groups of Parsis playing cards by elec- 
tric light as they sat on the grass by the Queen's 
statue, were the sharpest pictures in memory after 
Bombay and the mainland hills had faded on the 
horizon, and one turned gratefully toward lands 
where it is not always afternoon, 

"Did you enjoy India?" my friends continued to 
ask me, with unhappy choice of words; and, to be 
literal, the answer could only be negative. 



BOMBAY 391 

"What impressed you most?" To that it was 
easy to answer : "What England has done for India ; 
the incalculable debt all that continent of diverse 
peoples owes for the just, intelligent, humane rule 
of the Great White Queen and her son ; for the trea- 
sure of noble lives poured into the peninsula for a 
century, for the burdens the white man has borne." 
If all the people should gather daily, like the mul- 
titudes praying on the Ganges bank at Benares, 
salaam toward England, and chant their acknowledg- 
ments, it would be fitting; but one discovers an 
ingratitude of dependencies degrees blacker than 
that of republics. 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Abu, Mount, 358, 361, 362, Auckland, Lord, 98, 192, 217 

375 Audience-halls, 194, 195, 216, 

Abu Koads, 357, 362 328, 351 

Afghanistan, 279, 280, 281, Aurangzeb, 195 

284 Austin de Bordeaux, 194 
Afghans, 259, 260, 262, 280, 

296 Bahadur Shah, 228 

Afridi, 277, 281, 282, 283, Bandy, 35, 40 

286 Banian-tree, 12, 98 

Agra, 182, 185-201, 210, 333, Bazaars, 166, 181, 244, 247, 

342, 343 248, 250, 261, 263, 304, 305, 

Ahmedabad, 362-367 347, 364 

Akbar, 194, 202, 203, 204, 206, Beecher, Henry Ward, 278 

212, 218, 227, 228, 229, 230, Beggars, 250, 253, 267, 304, 

243, 255, 258, 260, 299, 341 381, 390 

AU Masjid, 261, 292, 293 Benares, 150-176 

Allahabad Pioneer, 94 Bengali, 101, 102 

Altamsh, 234 Bhattiprolu, 80, 120 

Alwar, 323-333 Bhor Ghat, 377, 382 

Ambala, 313, 321 Bichauna, 239 

Amber, 344, 353, 354 Blavatsky, Mme., 81, 320 

Amraoti, 99, 141 Bodhi-druma, 116, 273 

Amritsar, 298-311 Bogie-car, 368 

Ananda, 119 Bokhara, 253, 265, 271, 285, 

Acarkali, 243 304, 390 

Annanbag Gardens, 167, 168 Bombay, 369, 383-390 

Arizona, 377 Bo-tree, 116, 118, 119, 120, 

Arjuna, 75 129, 133-142, 273 

Armor, 80, 329 Brahman, 16, 24, 29, 42, 45, 

Arnold, Sir Edwin, 355, 356, 48, 49, 129, 154, 155, 167, 

389 352 

Art industries, 166, 221, 242, Brahm-Gaya, 125, 134 

347, 364 Brasses, 166 

Art schools, 242, 347, 364 Bright, John, 32 

Aryan, 260 Brooks, Phillips, 69 

Ash picking, 8, 9 Bucephalus, 282 

Asoka, 116, 120, 136, 137, 138, Buckingham Canal, 69, 70 

141, 142, 227 Buddha, 74, 80, 90, 100, 116- 

Attock, 258, 260, 295 120, 163, 168, 227, 358, 374 

395 



396 INDEX 

Buddha-Gaya, 126, 129-147, Dancers, 59, 60, 61, 235, 236, 

273 237, 348, 352, 355 

Buddhism, esoteric, 320 Daniel, Samuel, 22, 23, 29, 34, 

Budgery boats, 69, 75 47, 48 

Burma, 89, 90, 139, 140, 141, Darjiling, 105, 109, 110, 317, 

145, 146, 147 318 

Delhi, 213-226 

Cable, George W,, 241 Diamond Throne, the, 136 

Calcutta, 86-101 Dilke, Sir Charles, 193, 280 

Camels, 221, 228, 273, 279, Dilwarra temples, 358, 361, 

281, 289, 293, 294, 306 362 

Caravans, 272, 279, 293, 295 Dindigal, 21, 22 

Carpenter's Cave, 374, 375 Diver, submarine, 85 

Carpets, 193, 307, 309, 310, Dogs, railway rules for, 257 

330, 343 Dravidian architecture, 15, 24, 

Caste, 103 31, 42, 373 

Caste-marks, 10, 16, 31, 45, Drawing-room, the Viceregal, 

107, 145, 150 97 

Cats, Persian, 268 Durbar, 225, 226, 228 
Caves, 76, 132, 370, 373, 374, 

378, 381, 389 Edward VII, King, 226 

Cawnpore, 181, 182 Edwards, Sir H., 263, 283 

Chandni Chauk, 215, 228, 244, Elephanta, caves of, 389 

263 Elephants, 17, 18, 24, 33, 90, 

Chaturgam Lai, 150, 156, 171, 328, 330, 336, 339, 340, 341, 

172 342, 344, 352, 353, 354, 355 

Cheroots, 22 EUenborough, Lord, 192 

Chetah, 330 Ellora, 370, 373, 374, 375 

Chidambram, 34-63 Elphinstone, General, 283 

Chota Hazri, 11 Enfield rifle, 280 

Christmas, 75, 89 Everest, Mount, 111, 112, 113 
Cingalese texts, 120, 123 

Conjeveram, 64 Fahien, 132, 139, 164, 273 

Connaught, Duke of, 345 Fakirs, 157, 158, 166 

Cormorin, Cape, 260 Falconer, 264 

Coromandel Coast, 70 Fatehpur Sikri, 203-212 

Councils, Buddhist, 120, 138 Fergusson, Sir James, 196, 

Crawford, Marion, 94, 320 209, 217, 233 

Cremation, 158, 161 Firozabad, 227 

Cross, the Southern, 79 Flaxman, 32 

Cunningham, General, 131, Forward Party, the, 284 

138, 141, 242 Frontier, the Northwest, 276, 

Curzon, Lady, 97 277, 281, 282 

Curzon, Lord, 97, 98, 226, 276, Fuel, 11 

279, 355 Fuller, Loie, 236 

Dak bangla, 11, 18, 35, 36, Gadsbvs, the, 241, 320 

38, 72, 125, 126, 298, 323, Gandamak, treaty of, 283 

324, 358 Ganesha, 23, 76 



INDEX 397 

Ganges, 86, 105, 153 Jasmine Tower, 194, 195, 342 

Gaya, 124, 125 Jats, 192, 193, 195 

Gboom, 109 Jehad, 281 

Gbor Kattri, the, 273 Jellalabad, 275 

Golden Mosque, 253 Jewels, 17, 25, 26, 51, 52, 53, 

Golden Temple, 300, 303 54, 64, 71, 222, 223, 224, 

Gopis, 74, 76, 97 268, 305, 329 

Gopura, 15, 24, 31, 41 Jeypore, 344-355 

Granth, 303 Jinrikisha, 318, 357 

Grapes, 272, 294 

Greco-Buddhist art, 80, 178, Kabul, 264, 265, 272, 290, 293 

242 Kadam, 280, 291 

Guides, 22, 23, 177, 204, 205, Kafila, 272 

378, 381 Kafirs, 277 

Gujaek, 248, 272 Kailas, the, 373, 374, 376 

GuUstan, 328 Kalka, 313, 317, 321 

Gwalior, 335-343 Kalyan, 377 

Kandahar, 273 

Hair-cutting, ceremonial, 201 Kanishka, 120, 273 

Hauksbee, Mrs., 2^1, 320 Kapilavastu, 117, 119 

Himalayas, 107, 112, 113, 278, Karli, 378, 381 

313, 318 Kashmir, 298, 300, 305, 309, 
Hindu Kush, 258, 276, 278 310 

Hiouen Thsang, 123, 131, 139, Kasyapa, 119 

273 Khairabad, 259, 295 

Hobson, 228 Khan, Colonel Islam, 289 

Hong Kong, 299 Khusru, 229 

Horse-dealers, 272, 317 Khyber Pass, 261, 272, 279, 
Hotels, 65, 86, 87, 93, 94, 177, 280, 281, 289-295 

213, 313, 318, 319, 345, 383 Khyber Rifles, 289 

Humayum, 227, 228 Kim, the Rishti, 242, 247, 
Hunter, Sir William, 241 304, 312, 319 

Hyderabad, 323 Kineob, 167, 364 

Kipling, Rudyard, 94, 239, 
Indrapat, 227 240, 242, 244, 260, 262, 285, 

Indus, 258, 259 296, 319, 320, 321 

Isaacs, Mr., 319, 320 Kite-flying, 254 

I 'tamadu-daulah, 199 Koh-i-nur, 216, 230, 242, 291, 

299 

Jade, 217, 223, 254, 305, 306 Koran, 218 

Jahangir, 212, 242, 249, 255 Krishna, 74 

Jahanira, 195, 229 Kunehinjinga, 108, 112, 113 

Jails, 274, 330, 343 Kutab n'linar, 227, 233, 234 
Jains, 221, 358, 361, 362, 363, 

373, 375 Ladak, 254 

Jakko, 319, 321 Lahore, 239-255, 261 

Jama Masjid, 218, 229, 248, Lalla Rookh, 255 

340 Lawrence, Henry, 180, 283 

Japanese, 146, 225, 333 Levee, the viceregal, 97 



398 



INDEX 



Light of Asia, the, 130, 148 
Lockhart, General, 284 
Lonauli, 378, 382 
Lucknow, 177-182 
Luggage, 114, 115, 149 
Lundi Khana, 280, 281 
Lundi Kotal, 281, 289 
Lytton, Lord, 226 



Macaulay, T. B., 241 
Madras, 65, 66, 80-85 
Madura, 10-18 
Maghada, 116, 117 
Magistrate, 39 
Magyar, 299 
Mahabalipur, 73, 370 
Mahabodhi, 116, 129 
Maharaja of Benares, 175, 

176 
Maharaja of Sindhia, 192, 

336 342 
Mahatma, 167, 172, 228, 320 
Mahrattas, 215, 336, 341 
Manaar, Gulf of, 3 
Manure cakes, 11 
Massoula-boats, 84 
Mayo College, 327 
Meean Mir, 247 
Mecca, 116, 181, 209, 267, 390 
Michni Pass, 282, 286 
Midway Plaisance, 60 
Mirza Jahangir, 229 
Mission Avork, 16, 30 
Moguls, 194 
Molla, 267, 283 
Monkey, 167, 218 
Moses, 264 

Mosque, 181, 195, 196, 363 
Miiller, Max, 123, 241 
Mumtaz-i-Mahal, 189, 195, 

199, 212, 229 
Museums, 80, 99, 178, 241, 

347 
Mussaffirkhana, 335 
Mutiny, the, 178, 179, 180, 

182, 215, 217, 225, 228, 299 
Mutton. 218 



Nadir Shah, 215, 217, 230, 

258, 291 
Nandgaon, 369, 370 
Nankow Pass, 292 
Napoleon, 284 
Native states, 323, 324 
Nautch dance, 59, 60, 61, 71, 

236, 348, 352, 355 
Nawab, the bogus, 345, 346, 

347, 378 
Nepal, 113 
Newspapers, 94 
Nicholson, John, 263, 283 
Nirvana, 118, 133, 139, 145, 

148 
Nizam, the, 284, 323, 375 
Nur Jahan, or Nur Mahal, 

199, 212, 255 



Opium, 348 

Oven, of India, 247, 263 

Pachisi, 206 

Pagan, 90 

Pagodas, the Seven, 67 

Palaces, 12, 96, 175, 194, 195, 

204, 205, 206, 327, 328, 329, 

339, 351, 354 
Pali, 120, 123 
Palk Strait, 3 

Parsis, 99, 384, 385, 386, 390 
Pathans, 260, 264, 290 
Pattu Thacheadar, 56, 62, 63 
Peacock Throne, 216, 217, 218, 

228, 230 
Pegu, 90 
Persia, 285 

Peshawar, 242, 254, 260-275 
Peter the Great, 285 
Phalgu Eiver, 129, 148 
Philistines, 192, 196 
Phulkari, 268 
Pie, 278 
Pigeons, 230 
Finns longifolia, 314 
Piprawah, 99, 117, 120 
Pipul-troo, 133, 134, 274 



INDEX 



399 



Poona, 377 

Pop-corn, :^71 

Population, 101 

Poultry, 218 

Povindahs, 272 

Prince of Wales, 26, 193, 217 

Races, 96 

Railways, 9, 10, 104, 106, 114, 

115, 182, 256, 257, 334, 368, 

369, 377, 382 
Rajput, 117, 327, 354, 358 
Ramnuggur, 175 
Rangoon, 90, 228, 272 
Razais, 37 
Relics of Buddha, 99, 117, 

120 
Residency, Lucknow, 179, 180 
Rhinoceros, 94, 341, 351 
Rhys Davids, Dr., 123 
* ' Rickshaw. ' ' See Jinrikisha 
Roaches, 3, 76, 90 
Roberts, Lord, 181, 225, 263 
Rock sculptures, 73, 74, 75, 

340, 370, 373, 374, 375, 378, 

389 - 
Rugs, 268 

Runjeet Singh, 248, 299 
Russian advance, the, 248, 

277, 284, 285 

Sadi, 229 

Safdar Jang, 233 

Safed Koh, 259, 275 

Saints, 206, 267, 274, 283 

Samarkand, 265, 268, 271 

Samovar, 265 

Sanchi, toran of, 99, 142 

Sanskrit, 120, 123 

Schwartz, 32 

Scythian, 264 

Secundra, 203 

Selim Chisti, 206, 207 

Serai, 273, 390 

Servants, 150 

Shah Jahan, 194, 212, 216, 

227 229 249 
Shalimar Gardens, 254 



Shanghai, 299 

Shere Ali, 282 

Shish Mahal, 328 

Shiva, 15, 41, 163, 166, 373, 

376, 378, 389 
Shoes, 266 
Sieges, 179, 180 
Sikhs, 242, 244, 249, 298, 299, 

300 
Simla, 95, 241, 312, 318-321 
Sinnett, A. P., 94, 320 
Snakes, 150, 389 
Solon, 317, 321 
Soorajbux, 327, 333 
Southey, 74 
Sowar, 280 
Srirangam, 23, 24 
Steele, Mrs. F. A., 149, 182, 

225, 241 
Sujata, 118 

Swamji, 167, 168, 171, 172 
Sweetmeats, 248, 267, 272 

Taj Mahal, 185-194, 210, 227, 

229, 300, 333, 342, 343 
Tamils, 7 
Tanjore, 30-33 
Telegraphs, 7, 8, 34 
Telephone, 83 
Temple, Sir R., 283 
Teppa Kulam, 12 
Theosophists, 64, 81 
Thorvaldsen, 75 
Thugs, 37 

Tibet, 108, 110, 111 
Tiger, 146 

Tonga, 313, 370, 377 
Tottenham Court Road, 249 
Towers of Silence, 386 
Tramp, 33 
Triehinopoli, 22, 23 
Tughlak, 227, 235 
Turbans, 336 
Turquoise, 112, 223, 254 
Tuticorin, 4, 7, 8 

Unicorn, 341, 351 
Uruwcla, 117, 118 



400 INDEX 

Vazir Khan, Mosque of, 250 Waziris, 277 

Vedas, 154, 171, 328 Weddings, 221, 322, 348, 384, 

Vereshehagin, V., 199, 209, 385 

263, 264 Whisky, "Green Seal," 318 
Viceroy, 95, 96, 98, 218 

Vihara, 273, 374, 381 Yarkand, 254, 304 

Warburton, Colonel, 284, 286, 

289 Zanzamah, the, 242 

Waterloo, 284 Zenana, 206, 212, 329, 330, 

Waxwork, Afghan, 271 351 



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